• Caryn Livingston

Fuel remains a key driver in airline fleet planning, JFIN finds


KLM replaced its Fokker 70 aircraft with the more efficient Embraer 175+. Photo/KLM

While fuel efficiency is not the top driver for airlines building out and renewing their aircraft fleets, it ranks among the top three considerations as airlines look to cut fuel costs and reduce emissions.


That according to the new 2020 Jet Fuel Innovation Review report published today by Jet Fuel Innovation News.


“The volatility of fuel prices affects the performance of all airlines but those that own aircraft with four engines such as Emirates, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, British Airways and Qantas are critically impacted due to their higher wing weight, smaller fan diameter and consequently high fuel consumption,” according to the report, which was based on an industry survey and prepared by Cargo Facts Consulting, a logistics consultancy.


Fuel’s role in fleet planning is one of the report’s many findings. Aircraft capabilities and revenue potential are generally the top drivers for airlines as they look to replace or add aircraft, while fuel usage is typically a third or fourth consideration. Fuel ranks ahead of labor and other more direct cost metrics related to maintenance and capital outlay for the aircraft.


Fuel’s place as the single largest cost for the airline and air cargo business may be the primary reason it ranks as a top consideration for carriers, but increasing a fleet’s fuel efficiency also addresses a rising concern in the industry. Several major airlines with ambitious sustainability goals, including Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines and KLM, have highlighted the importance of their fleet renewal strategies in reducing fuel utilization. In addition to fleet replacement, the strategic implementation of an existing fleet can reduce fuel costs. The new report highlights Korean Air’s use of its A200 aircraft for domestic flights to Japan and China, which allows for steady capacity on low-demand routes while significantly reducing fuel consumption.


“The A220 generates 23% less GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions per flight and 12% less per seat when compared to Korean Air’s existing Boeing 737-800s,” the report finds.


To download your copy of the complete report, including an analysis of how the airline industry is handling the topic of fuel and related issues, complemented by the findings from an industry survey consisting of passenger and cargo airlines, visit https://www.jetfuelinnovation.com/report.


For in-depth discussion of jet fuel’s role in fleet planning and other topics of industry concern, join us April 6-7 for Jet Fuel Innovation Summit, a new networking and learning opportunity that will dive into jet fuel processes, technologies, fuel sources and much more. To register and for more information about the event, visit www.jetfuelinnovation.com. Early registration ends Friday, Feb. 28!

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