Sunday, May 4, 2008

Slower Planes Will Save Fuel

This is an interesting fact and Southwest Airlines has started flying slower since about two months ago. Surprisingly, it is projected that the airlines will save around $42 million in fuel this year by extending each flight by only one to three minutes.

A Northwest Airlines flight from Paris to Minneapolis has saved 162 gallons of fuel or $535 in one week by adding eight minutes to the flight, extending the flight to eight hours and fifty-eight minutes. They have reduced the average speed from 542 mph to 532 mph to achieve the merit.

Another example is JetBlue that has added an average of just under two minutes to each flight and saves around $13.6 million a year in jet fuel while Northwest Airlines that adds four minutes to its flight to and from Hawaii has saved $600,000 a year.

Fliers that need to pay higher fares recently with typical delays and long security lines may not notice these extra minutes. Usually the extra flight time is added to published flight schedule or absorbed into the contingency time built in the original schedule for taxiing and traffic delays.

It should also be understood that slowing flights down needs a balance and careful consideration. It can conserve fuel, but it may increase labor and maintenance costs if airline employees should work longer and planes spend more time in the service. Every plan is also different and if it flies below certain speed, a fuel usage can in fact rise. Therefore, airlines must find the balance on fuel use without slowing down too much that will increase other costs.

This is an interesting concept, which may need to be considered by airlines especially with current skyrocketing fuel price. Complete news is available in Airlines slow down flights to save on fuel.

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