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Cutting Airlines' Fuel Costs

Soaring fuel prices, keeping the airline business afloat and making air travel affordable are just some challenges faced by airlines. But see what are two new innovations to reduce consumption. Only the fit will survive.




With the soaring price of fuel, airlines are looking for new, innovative ways to cut fuel costs. Some innovations only cut out a few gallons, others hundreds, but every little bit adds up. Airlines have to remain profitable, tickets have to remain affordable, and so something has got to give. Here are two innovative ways that airlines have used, or will use, to cut fuel costs.

1. Electric drive units

Israel’s El Al Airlines is planning to outfit 20 of their Boeing 737 airplanes with electric drive units from WheelTug. These units will provide power for the planes to taxi while on the ground. Essentially, the planes will not have to use their engines to taxi on the runways, saving two gallons of fuel every minute. The WheelTug units will also cut out the need for tow vehicles to drag the planes to and from gates at the airport. WheelTug says the system cuts 85% of fuel use while planes are grounded. The system is hooked up to an auxiliary power source in the airplane. Though the auxiliary power unit runs on fuel, it takes much less to power the WheelTug units than it does to power the jet engines, bringing fuel consumption to just 15% of current usage. The system is set to be approved in 2013.

El Al

2. Ultra-thin paint

Previously only used in military aircraft, airlines have already started painting their aircraft with TripleO’s nano-paint. The paint, actually a coating,

“is 100 times thinner than a human hair, smooths out microscopic bumps and nicks on a plane’s surface, letting it glide more easily when in flight, ultimately cutting fuel consumption and cost. It adds only 4 oz. of weight to the aircraft, and reduces the buildup of debris on the aircraft’s surface, thus reducing drag.”

The coating saves airlines two percent in fuel costs each year, which adds up to thousands of gallons of fuel. Not only does this reduce costs, it also reduces the planes’ carbon footprints.

There are many more ways that airlines are experimenting with to reduce fuel consumption. Solar panels, hybrid engines, and lighter materials are just a sample of the methods currently under way. Cost reduction and pollution reduction are very important to the industry and the customers.

Easy Jet

About the Author:

Melanie Slaugh is enthusiastic about the growing prospects and opportunities of various industries and writing articles on various consumer goods and services as a freelance writer. She writes extensively for internet service providers and also topics related to internet providers in my area for presenting the consumers, the information they need to choose the right Internet package for them. She can be reached at slaugh[dot]slaugh907[at]gmail[dot]com.


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About Wayne Farley

Wayne Farley

I am Wayne, an aviation safety evangelist who once made my living working in the control tower. Engage me while I share my thoughts, experience, and news from the aviation world. After writing "13 Characteristics of an air traffic controller" in 2010, it went viral and established me as an unofficial ambassador for ATC.

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