Aviation Fueling with Pierre Brown

A layer of clouds blocks the sun’s first light at Chicago-Midway International Airport as Pierre Brown walks out to greet a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 that is arriving at its gate. As a long-time member of the aviation industry, Pierre knows that this line of work is not for the faint of heart.

“When you’re employed with aviation, you do more before 9AM than a lot of people do all day.”

With a slight breeze and clear skies, the Ramp is literally freezing at ten degrees below zero as Pierre climbs the stairs to obtain the fuel ticket – an order form from the airline that lists the fueling requirements.  

“You bake all summer. You freeze all winter. And you get wet all spring. When it’s subzero, it’ll break you.”

Pierre is a fuel specialist for Swissport Fueling Services, which is an international company that provides high quality, independent aviation fuel handling on behalf of airlines, airports and fuel suppliers. He is responsible for loading fuel onto as many as fifteen airplanes every day – a task that requires him to manage time well despite weather conditions.

“As soon as a plane lands, I go out there and do it. That way, I don’t get caught up when another lands and it’s time to move on. You don’t want to be the cause of a delay.”

For Pierre, getting planes out on time is more than a job – it’s a point of pride.

“In eighteen years, I’ve never caused a delay. That’s not good for business, and I take pride in what I do.”

Working efficiently and safely is what Pierre and Swissport are all about, and he wants every passenger to know that they are in good hands.

“I would tell the people who are flying out that they definitely [have] enough fuel to get to their destination.”

Go behind the scenes on the Ramp with Pierre and experience a day on the job with him by watching the short documentary, Liquid Controls Salutes: Aviation Fueling with Pierre Brown.


LC Salutes is a series of behind-the-scenes stories that acknowledges the hundreds of thousands of unsung heroes who keep the world's industries fueled and moving. To view more stories, visit LCmeter.com/LCSalutes.