1. Home
  2. News and views
  3. Newsletter articles
  4. Time out with Torben Sohomon Olsen

Time out with Torben Sohomon Olsen

Release date:
April 2023
Ever wondered what refuelling operators get up to on the average day? Torben Sohomon Olsen, an Air bp refueller at Kangerlussuaq Sondestrom (SFJ/ BGSF) in Greenland shares what his job entails. 


There are around 500 people living in the city of Kangerlussuaq, one main road, two nurses (no doctors), two policemen, one cafeteria and one restaurant. However, despite this, it is also home to Greenland’s main airport. Torben works alongside four other Air bp operators, the administrative assistant and the site supervisor to ensure fuel is delivered safely to customers all year round. As well as aircraft refuelling, the team’s primary responsibilities include performing fuel quality checks, the transfer of aviation fuel from the pre-airfield storage to the airport and assist with storing and handling of aviation fuel.


What does safety mean to you in your job?


Safety means that I look out for everyone around me: my colleagues and people at the airport. No matter how busy we are, it’s important to remain calm and not rush. Refuelling an aircraft is primarily about safety - and with large jets and tens of thousands of litres of flammable liquid flowing, there is plenty to be aware of. 


What do you like most about your job? 


I really enjoy working as part of a team. I have great colleagues and we work very well together. We look out for each other and support each other. 


What are the main challenges?


Our airport is an important location for search & rescue helicopters and medical evacuation flights. These flights often need to be accommodated at a short notice, which can pose its fair share of challenges. Nonetheless, we endeavour to fuel everyone safely and as quickly as possible. 


What do the temperatures reach at your airport?


The lowest temperature in which I have fuelled an aircraft was -47°C (including windchill factor). The warmest it gets in Kangerlussuaq is 20-25° C in the summer. 


What do you think about diversity and inclusion?


It makes no difference whether my colleagues are male or female. It’s about finding the right person for the job. We do a lot of the maintenance on the trucks ourselves, so a refuelling engineer needs to enjoy fixing things. More widely, diversity across our workforce means higher levels of skill, commitment and professionalism. 


What would be your advice to someone starting out in operations in Air bp?


Trust your colleagues and stay calm. We care about each other; we will always find time to help you and train you. When I started, I spent a long time observing my trainer and over time he let me do it myself. That is how he taught me to fuel. You should always be safety conscious and have situational awareness. Our job comes with a lot of responsibilities and discipline is vital. 


For more information on this location, please click here.