For all you frequent fliers in the Spend Management audience — I’m sure there are a good many of you — this article from the Chicago Tribune this past weekend is one that you should not miss. In it, the authors describe how American Airlines is attempting to get pilots to agree to a policy that lessens the amount of extra fuel remaining on board when a plane lands (based on its original flight calculation). The plan is to drive significant savings for American — far more than that infamous stunt of taking the olive out of the salad — in terms of the added cost in fuel consumption for carrying around unnecessary fuel during flight. I’m also sure there’s a small working capital cost reduction component to this as well (i.e., the less fuel that goes into a plane on every trip, the less American needs to spend on buying it).
According to the article, “American planes are landing with enough fuel to fly an additional 93 minutes on average … Extra fuel is always allocated during bad weather, they said, and to account for the probability that planes will be placed in holding patterns near congested airports, among other factors.” American wants to reduce the minimum amount of fuel requirements to 65 minutes “of fuel left at the end of a flight,” a number that, “is well above the FAA requirement for a minimum of 45 minutes of fuel remaining on domestic arrivals and 30 minutes on international arrivals.”