Three Great Fuel-Saving Hacks for Airlines

March 27, 2018 | Author: Iliya Maksimov

Jet fuel prices cause a lot of furrowed brows in airline boardrooms these days. Fuel prices soared about 22 percent in the last year and are expected to push fuel costs to exceed 20 percent of air carriers’ operating costs in 2018, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Airlines can’t do much about rising fuel prices. What they can do is use less fuel. Every airline has set aggressive fuel-saving targets, but most struggle to strike a balance between fuel economy and on-time performance. Slow down to save a few kilos and put the schedule at risk. Push down on the throttle and watch the fuel gauge nosedive.

Now it is possible to use data analytics technology to improve fuel efficiency without sacrificing schedule performance by changing operational practices and giving flight crews the right information to make informed decisions.

There is enormous disparity between the most and least efficient airlines. According to the International Council on Clean Transportation, the least efficient operators use 51 percent more fuel per passenger kilometer than the best in class carriers on trans-Atlantic routes. We can assume a similar gap exists on other international and domestic routes.

Lots of factors affect fuel economy including the size and configuration of the aircraft, the age and efficiency of the engines, the number of people on board, the aircraft’s gross weight, and environmental factors like wind speed and air temperature.

While many of these things are outside an airline’s immediate span of control, there are some relatively simple things carriers can do to make sizeable fuel-economy improvements and save millions of dollars in annual fuel costs.

  • Fly more efficient routes: With the right information at their disposal, pilots can fly the most direct routes, take advantage of shortcuts and request takeoff and landing trajectories that save fuel.
  • Know the airport: Every airport is different. Airlines can reduce fuel burn by knowing and requesting best practices for flying into and out of airports, flying holding patterns and taxiing between the runway and the terminal.
  • Adjust to changes: With access to the most current data, pilots can request course and altitude changes to minimize the impact of winds, turbulence and other natural conditions that require them to use additional fuel.

To capitalize on these and other breakthrough fuel-saving opportunities, airlines need fresh data and an advanced analytics platform that can convert good ideas into actions and actions into savings. That platform is GoDirect Flight Efficiency, an integrated service from Honeywell.

Operators using the GoDirect Flight Efficiency service have experienced fuel savings of as much as 5 percent, which translates to millions of dollars of value to the airlines’ bottom lines. 

GoDirect Flight Efficiency helps airlines and flight crews make informed decisions before and during flight, balancing the need for fuel savings and on-time performance. It also provides data analytics tools that airline operations departments can use to view fuel-savings information and identify best practices enterprise-wide. 

Developed using extensive airline and pilot input, GoDirect Flight Efficiency consolidates flight plans, weather forecasts, navigation charges, aircraft performance data and other variables in one place. The service goes above and beyond by enabling breakthrough fuel-saving strategies that have not been possible in the past, including easy-to-interpret data displays that let flight crews compare options and clearly see the impact of their decisions on fuel consumption.

These are challenging times and airlines face multiple pressures, including rising jet fuel prices that put a strain on their operating costs. Operators need all the help they can get to save fuel, improve on-time performance and create a great customer experience. Honeywell can help with GoDirect services and apps like GoDirect Flight Efficiency – the airline’s secret weapon against high jet fuel prices.

Iliya Maksimov

Iliya Maksimov - Principal Instructor, Fuel Efficiency Course

After burning thousands and thousands of kilograms of fuel flying a Boeing 737 all over Europe for logistics firm DHL, Iliya switched sides and is now supporting multiple initiatives to reduce fuel consumption. He has helped Turkish Airlines and Jet Airways to implement GoDirect Flight Efficiency, software solutions that helps airlines improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. Most recently, Iliya has provided hands-on fuel efficiency training to dozens of aviation professionals as the principal instructor of the Fuel Efficiency course.

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