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Airlines Cutting Costs by Cutting Fuel Loads

Travel Forums General Talk Airlines Cutting Costs by Cutting Fuel Loads

1. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru, 2634 posts) 11 Aug '08 10:49

Pilots are complaining that rising fuel prices are putting passengers in danger as airlines try and minimize the amount of fuel they put on board planes to save weight and money.

Yahoo News Story: Pilots complain airlines restrict fuel to cut cost

FAA regulations require airliners to take off with enough fuel to reach their destination or an alternate airport, plus another 45 minutes of flight. The regulations also say it's up to dispatchers and pilots to decide the size of fuel loads, with pilots making the final call.

Spare fuel beyond the minimum required by FAA is often added to airliners to allow for weather or airport delays. That adds weight, which burns more fuel and increases a plane's operating cost. A Washington-to-Los Angeles flight by an Airbus 320 with 150 passengers burns about 29,500 pounds, or 4,300 gallons, of fuel. That costs about $14,600. Adding an additional 1,500 pounds, about 219 gallons, would cost about $750 more.

Scary, maybe, or maybe a ploy by pilots and their unions as a bargaining chip to get the flying public on their side in the next contract negotiations. You never really know with stories like this...

[ Edit: Edited on Aug 11, 2008, at 10:50 AM by GregW ]

2. Posted by dr.pepper (Moderator, 316 posts) 11 Aug '08 19:39

Quoting GregW

Scary, maybe, or maybe a ploy by pilots and their unions as a bargaining chip to get the flying public on their side in the next contract negotiations. You never really know with stories like this...

My guess is it's the latter. No reputable airline is going to reduce its fuel load to such an extent that it's actually dangerous. Maybe some dodgy airlines will, but I think if you're flying with a major airline you don't need to worry about this.

Eric

3. Posted by tway (Travel Guru, 7274 posts) 12 Aug '08 05:56