Airlines Become Weight Watchers to Save Fuel

As fuel prices continue to rise, airlines are getting creative in seeking fuel savings
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Jun 11, 2008 7:30 AM CDT
In this April 3, 2008 file photo, a JetBlue Airways plane departs from Oakland International Airport in Oakland, Calif.    (AP Photo/Noah Berger, file)
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(Newser) – Airlines struggling with soaring fuel expenses are seeking new ways to save, and none is too small, from cutting the amount of water they carry for washrooms to cleaning engines more often to increase their efficiency, reports the New York Times. Some are pulling back on their cruising speed—from 500 mph to 480mph—while others study whether one 9lb set of pilot manuals in the cockpit will do instead of two.

Even beverage carts and passenger seats are being redesigned to save trim pounds. “Every 25 pounds we remove, we save $440,000 a year,” says a Northwest executive. American aims to save roughly $330 million this year through such fine tuning, on a total fuel bill that will approach $9.26 billion.