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Fuel burn and cost: a weighty issue

Published on  15 October by Allison O'Neill , Vice President, SITA
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Last year, airlines spent roughly US$ 211 billion on fuel alone. With net profits running just 3% of their revenues, it's easy to see that just a small savings in fuel has a big impact on the bottom line.

That's why it's vital that airlines and ground handlers pay the utmost attention to managing the aircraft's weight and distribution payload.

Consider that incorrect loading:

  • Requires a higher takeoff speed
  • Reduces the rate and angle of climb
  • Lowers the service ceiling
  • Reduces cruising speed and shortens cruising range
  • Requires a longer landing roll
  • Imposes an excessive load on the structure

While optimized aircraft balance:

  • Reduces fuel burn up to 1%
  • Improves safety via better takeoff and landing performance
  • Reduces environmental impact
  • Decreases wear and tear on aircraft
  • Provides safer control and maneuverability

Center of gravity is key

An aircraft loaded so that its center of gravity is near the aft uses less fuel than one where the center is further forward. According to IATA, properly managing an aircraft's center of gravity will yield savings of 1-2% during line operation, and can reduce fuel consumption by 1.5%.

To achieve this optimal balance, the right technology and team best practices are vital.

IT paves the way

Next generation IT enables aircraft to fly more efficiently and cost-effectively than ever before. At the same time, there's no compromise to safety. For example, next-gen tools are now essential for creating awareness across ground and flight operations about the critical importance of fuel efficiency and reduced carbon emissions - and how they can greatly improve fuel savings.

Along these same lines, SITA is introducing new features to Weight and Balance that increase productivity, optimize resource allocation, and reduce operating costs for ground planning.

We've partnered with Liberator to utilize their Cost Manager Application (CMAP) technology. This tool takes into account the center of gravity and aft calculations and is based on accepted industry standards and principles.

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