On May 16, 2018

The math of airline fuel efficiency

Fuel prices are increasing over the last years: the graph below is worth a thousand words...

 

You probably worry about the impact on your airline costs. Indeed, fuel price trends are a real issue for airlines since fuel generally represents 30% of their costs.

 

Good news is fuel cost does not just depend on fuel price, but also on fuel efficiency.

 

fuel-price-graph-bloomberg

 

Airline fuel efficiency consists in multiplying small quantities by big numbers.

 

The math is really simple, and I will share with you the secret formula that you can apply to your favorite airline:


             Fuel saved = _____ kg or lbs saved per flight x _____ number of flights per day x 365 😊

 

In this formula, the amount of fuel saved per flight is the small quantity and the number of flights per year is the big number.

 

Using various fuel saving techniques and with the proper tools, it is not too difficult to achieve from 50 kg to 150 kg fuel saving on a short-haul flight and from 200 kg to 1,000 kg fuel saving on a long-haul flight.

 

 

To give you an idea of what is at stake, I have created this simple computation table that you can use to quickly evaluate the potential for your airline:

 

Fuel saved

50 kg (110 lbs) per flight

100 kg (220 lbs) per flight

250 kg (551 lbs) per flight

500 kg (1102 lbs) per flight

100 flights / day

1,825 tons

4 million lbs

3,650 tons

8 million lbs

9,125 tons

20 million lbs

18,250 tons

40 million lbs

500 flights / day

9,125 tons

20 million lbs

18,250 tons

40 million lbs

45,625 tons

101 million lbs

91,250 tons

201 million lbs

1,000 flights / day

18,250 tons

40 million lbs

36,500 tons

80 million lbs

91,250 tons

201 million lbs

182,500 tons

402 million lbs

2,000 flights / day

36,500 tons

80 million lbs

73,000 tons

161 million lbs

182,500 tons

402 million lbs

365,000 tons

805 million lbs

 

 

Considering the current average price of fuel is 700 USD/tons, the math gives:

 

Dollars saved

50 kg (110 lbs) per flight

100 kg (220 lbs) per flight

250 kg (551 lbs) per flight

500 kg (1102 lbs) per flight

100 flights / day

1.3 M USD

2.6 M USD

6 M USD

13 M USD

500 flights / day

6.4 M USD

13 M USD

32 M USD

64 M USD

1,000 flights / day

13 M USD

26 M USD

64 M USD

128 M USD

2,000 flights / day

26 M USD

51 M USD

128 M USD

256 M USD

 

 

And if I apply this math to a few select airlines, this gives:

  • United Airlines (4,500 flights/day at 250 kg / 440 lbs each): 288 M USD
  • Ryanair (2,000 flights/day at 150 kg / 330 lbs each): 76 M USD
  • China Southern (2,000/day flights at 250 kg / 400 lbs each): 128 M USD

 

So, are you ready to apply this math to your own airline?

 

Download our simple saving calculator: 

DOWNLOAD


READ MORE:

Like what you see? Want to learn more about airline fuel efficiency?

Discover case studies and stories from airlines that have been there:

 

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By Alexandre

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