Manufacturers and Maintenance support helps save fuel costs

Use proprietary flight planning software. Here, the computer calculates the flight path instead of the pilot manually doing it. It is there in all new planes made in the last decade. It allows the plane to be aligned with wind thereby reducing frictions.

Go in for more fuel-efficient planes which are aerodynamically well designed like the A-380 and the Dream liner. Airlines are also tankering up fuel from places where it’s cheaper.

Spicejet, one of the most fuel-efficient airlines and with the newest Boeing fleet, is now washing its planes more often. Moisture and dust accumulate in the pores of the engine, making it slower. While Boeing recommends high pressure washing of engines every 3,000 hours, they are doing it every 1,000 hours. Kingfisher cleans its air frame daily.

Airlines can also save a lot if they don’t paint their planes and keep the basic metallic color. Some cargo carriers are doing this.

Airlines have become strict about excess baggage and some LCCs don’t even allow two kg extra unless paid for.

Airlines could also take a leaf out of Southwest Airlines successful book. It has stolen a march over its competitors by hedging fuel till 2012 at $51 a barrel. The hedges have helped keep Southwest profitable, producing gas of $455 million in 2004, $892 m in 2005 and $675 m in 2006 and $ 439 m for the first nine months of 2007, as oil prices nearly doubled. Though a little late in the day to do this here, there is a lesson to be learnt for airlines in India.

Airlines in India should be prepared in expecting the unexpected, while at the same time focus on achieving high utilization to ensure consistent revenue.

Manufacturers Help: They are focused on staying close to through these economic challenges, and provide them (Airliners) with fuel efficient technologies and solutions. Its new generation planes bear this out.

Next generation 737: Most modern fuel efficient plane in its class – 10 years newer, with fuel burn up to 7% lower than its nearest competitor, and 8-12% lower than the 737 Classics it replaces. It will have fuel saving upgrades like blended winglets and reduces C02 emissions and takeoff noise.

777’: Most fuel efficient plane in its class. The 747-8 will be 16% more efficient than the 747-400 (and 11% more efficient than the A380).

787 Dream liner ; In addition to bringing big jet ranges to mid size planes, it will use 20% less fuel that similarly sized planes and travel at speeds similar to today’s fastest wide-bodies, Mach 0.85. It will reduce 20% fewer emissions and willd be 20% more efficient. It has 50% composites 20% aluminum and is 30,000 to 40,000 Ibs lighter than a A330-200. Compare it to the 777 which has 12% composites and 50% aluminum.

Other features of the Dream liner which make it a dream machine are:

Advanced aerodynamics: Smooth wing technology, spoilers that droop when flaps are deployed and laminar flow nacelles lower drag, improve efficiency and reduces fuel consumption

Lightweight structures: mainly composites which allow a lighter, simpler structure which increases efficiency, reduces fuel intake and maintenance.

More efficient engines: Higher bypass ratio allows engines to be quieter and more fuel efficient.

Being slick could just click matters for airlines now.

Some practical examples:

* Alaska Airlines indicated that removing just 5 magazines per aircraft could save $10,000 annually in fuel.
* By removing six seats Jet Blue reduced an A 320 weight by app 450 kgs.
* Alaska’s beverage cart at 10 kgs lighter could save $500,000 in fuel annually.
* Pratt and Whitney estimates that its Eco power engine washing saves Hawaiian $ 1 Million in fuel annually across 31 Boeing 737 engines.
* Air Canada considers stripping primer and paint from its 767s to save 170 kgs per plane.