New Ways to Move the Needle on Fuel Efficiency

May 16, 2018 | Author: Julie Vasquez

Air carriers need all the help they can get. Rising fuel prices put enormous pressure on the bottom line and operators seek new and better ways to squeeze more fuel economy out of their existing fleets. After all, the airframe itself is the most critical factor in the fuel-economy equation. But replacing an entire fleet with aircraft that weigh less and are more fuel efficient is a slow process which could take years, even decades.

Airlines cannot rely solely on new aircraft purchases to improve fuel efficiency. They are setting challenging goals and launching new fuel saving initiatives. Though, frankly, the low-hanging fruit has been harvested. Carriers need to identify new and innovative ways to save fuel. They also need to be able to prove that fuel-saving strategies and tactics are being applied and track the results of their initiatives.

Overwhelmingly, airlines are turning to Honeywell for assistance. More than 35 major airlines and airline groups, including IAG, Etihad, Japan Airlines, Turkish Airlines, KLM and Lufthansa use our GoDirect Flight Efficiency software. With GoDirect Flight Efficiency, we’re providing a unique software solution that helps airlines reduce the fuel bill and add millions to the bottom line.

How many millions depends on a lot of factors. But real-world operating experience on dozens of airlines indicates that GoDirect Flight Efficiency enables fuel reductions of up to 5 percent. These are not short-term savings. The impact of improving fuel efficiency year over year can result in $100+ million in fuel savings for a carrier with 50 tails over the course of a five-year program.

GoDirect Flight Efficiency uses cutting-edge algorithms and sophisticated data analytics to inform fuel-saving decisions in the operations center and on the flight deck. It provides a flight data analytics platform that lets operators find and attack inefficiencies. It also informs pilots about shortcuts, optimal climb speeds, cruise altitudes and other opportunities to reduce fuel consumption. Saving just a hundred pounds of fuel can impact airline profitability when multiplied by thousands and thousands of flights.

The platform provides a powerful platform to collect, analyze and apply fuel-consumption data to inform the decision-making process and create meaningful reports on fuel savings and environmental impact. It creates an end-to-end view of fuel efficiency for a given flight. It gathers data covering more than 1,000 parameters, validates the input and reports the results. It uses easy-to-interpret reports and graphs that are available on configurable dashboards and on the flight crew’s electronic flight bag.

With this information so readily available, the flight operations and cockpit teams can work together to map out a multidimensional flight strategy that both conserves fuel and enables on-time performance. And, they can see the impact changes in their flight profile or operational procedures have on fuel efficiency.

For example, GoDirect Flight Efficiency helps airlines with fuel planning by identifying routes that regularly experience large quantities of unburned extra fuel – a condition that can cost an airline millions because of extra weight and unburned fuel penalties. The software analyzes historic fuel consumption data and takes things like wind, weather and load factors into account to more accurately estimate the right amount of fuel to load.

GoDirect Flight Efficiency also can help airlines take advantage of inflight shortcuts, which can trim miles off an aircraft’s flight between two planned waypoints. Analytics identify airport pairs between which shortcuts are available and brings them to the attention of the flight crew. Flying shortcuts can amount to significant savings in fuel cost and time.

Particularly on long transoceanic flights, airlines can save enormous quantities of fuel by flying the most direct route under the most favorable conditions. GoDirect Flight Efficiency uses continuously updated flight information, such as winds and temperatures, helps pilots determine the optimum cruise altitude and provides guidance on the most fuel-efficient way to climb or descend to that altitude.

As fuel prices continue to rise, airlines need to reduce fuel consumption and improve operational and bottom-line performance. We’re here to help with GoDirect Flight Efficiency.

Julie Vasquez

Julie Vasquez

Senior Product Manager for Flight Support Services at Honeywell Aerospace


  • Jay Mesick

    This is a wonderful article. I worked with airlines when I worked at Boeing on 777 and 787 airplanes to capture information related to airplane inefficiency (drag) and engine efficiency. We also identified engine maintenance that would improve engine fuel burn. One area was engine efficiency after overhaul, and how many flights would it take to get an accurate fuel efficiency after the engine was rebuilt as information from engine test cells was not that accurate 20 years ago. the information we defined was for ACMF reports that would be sent to the ground. Please let me know if I can help in your program in any way.