Friday, July 11, 2008

Gas & Planes

There's an interesting CNBC article on today that profiles American Airlines' effort to shave fuel consumption in a program called Fuel Smart. Some of the statistics that surprised me:
  • It costs $77,000 to fill a Boeing 737 (20,000 gallons)
  • A cross country flight uses 9,000 gallons of fuel, or $34,000
  • Average revenue on a cross country flight is $54,000, leaving just $20,000 for maintenance, salaries, food, inspections, etc.
  • Each pound shed from a plane saves the company 14,000 gallons of fuel a year!
  • American Airlines has 700 planes in its fleet
  • They spend $10 billion a year in fuel
  • American Airlines uses an average of 95 gallons of fuel each second of every day
So, they are replacing food carts with versions 17 lbs. lighter, removing magazines from seat pockets, carrying less water, considering decals on the outside instead of paint (that would weigh 400 lbs less, and save nearly $20 million per plane per year), and trying to get pilots to request less fuel. And, of course, finding ways to pass the increased fuel charges onto customers.

Dan Garton, EVP of marketing for American Airlines said, "Seventy-eight percent of our customers fly once a year. And so some of those people may not be able to fly anymore, because we will raise our prices by hook or by crook.” (emphasis is mine)

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