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Airlines Pays Bonus To Fuel Saving Pilots  
User currently offlinericgallo From Brazil, joined Apr 2013, 4 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 3 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 4399 times:

Hello, everyone,

I wonder to know: there are any U.S. airline that pays bonuses to pilots who save fuel?

And are there any study that relates such a policy with a higher risk to the safety of operations? If so, where can I find it?

Thank you very much,

Ricardo

23 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinepilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3143 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (1 year 3 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 4358 times:

In the 70s, during the oil crisis, a 727 crew (Northwest, if I recall) got into a lot of trouble for shutting down the #2 engine in cruise to save fuel. Since then, fuel savings programs are illegal in the US.


DMI
User currently offlineMax Q From United States of America, joined May 2001, 4314 posts, RR: 19
Reply 2, posted (1 year 3 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 4345 times:

Quoting pilotpip (Reply 1):


In the 70s, during the oil crisis, a 727 crew (Northwest, if I recall) got into a lot of trouble for shutting down the #2 engine in cruise to save fuel. Since then, fuel savings programs are illegal in the US.

Er, nonsense and not true.


Shutting down the number 2 engine in cruise on a B727 would not save fuel, you would just burn more on 1 and 3 to compensate and, as you would be forced to fly lower due to less performance you would burn more still.


And fuel savings programs are not illegal and never have been, in fact I can't think of any Airline in the world that doesn't constantly take every measure possible to save fuel.


At Continental in the late '80's and early '90's we had a 'fuel gainsharing' program where a baseline burn was established for each fleet type. If this was bettered all Pilots received a bonus check once a quarter.



The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
User currently offlinebueb0g From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2010, 639 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 3 months 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 4231 times:

Quoting Max Q (Reply 2):
And fuel savings programs are not illegal and never have been, in fact I can't think of any Airline in the world that doesn't constantly take every measure possible to save fuel.

I think he was specifically referring to pilots being paid extra for burning less fuel, not fuel saving initiatives in general.



Roger roger, what's our vector, victor?
User currently offlinericgallo From Brazil, joined Apr 2013, 4 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (1 year 3 months 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4173 times:

You are right, bueb0g: my question is about the pilots. In Brazil, where I live, an airline established this kind of bonus for pilots. So I want to know if this procedure is adopted in other airlines and if is safe do it.
Regards!!


User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 5, posted (1 year 3 months 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 4168 times:

Quoting Max Q (Reply 2):
If this was bettered all Pilots received a bonus check once a quarter.

The problem with that is usually the pilots have very little to do with it really. You taxi, cruise, land and taxi to the gate. Delays and weather cause most of the inconveniences. Motivating a pilot with money to save fuel and you're asking for trouble. There's always that percentage that would cut corners and take risks to makes sure they got that check. Off the top of my head I can see a decision to continue an approach rather than go around to save fuel. We had a pilot that prided himself in saving fuel as a personal agenda and his big trick was to stay very high until the last moment then slow to 250kts at 10,000', 20DME from the runway. You can imagine the pain this was to controllers and other a/c that were sequenced behind him. He also drove the F/E crazy making sure the pack cooling doors were closed as much as possible to eliminate drag. All of this was very uncalled for and a real distraction for the crew he was with. The only suggestion from the co. that I saw was to not carry extra fuel if you really didn't need it. Some pilots would put an extra 10,000lbs on just for luck on every flight. This DOES burn fuel and unnecessary. We also did (still do) less than all engine taxis in/out of the ramp. Of course there's a catch there too. In tight congested ramps a MD-10/11 on two engines can use a higher power setting to move and blow containers and people. We had some ramps that 2 eng taxi was prohibited. So to me there wasn't much to do except fly the jet the way the co. asks you to do.


User currently offlineIAHFLYR From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 4790 posts, RR: 22
Reply 6, posted (1 year 3 months 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 4149 times:

Quoting Max Q (Reply 2):
At Continental in the late '80's and early '90's we had a 'fuel gainsharing' program where a baseline burn was established for each fleet type. If this was bettered all Pilots received a bonus check once a quarter.



I remember those days, quite few pilots drove the center controllers insane due to a much slower speeds, but in the terminal world it was not as big an issue.



Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
User currently offline26point2 From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 803 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 3 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 4117 times:

This steep descent tactic was employed for years with Southwest...or at least it seemed to me as I was constantly forced to fly my 3 degree visual approach through the SWA 5 degree wake. Not sure if this was a fuel saving effort by them but they don't seem to do it as much any more, at least in my experience. Perhaps it has something to do with the SWA accident at KBUR.

User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 24707 posts, RR: 46
Reply 8, posted (1 year 3 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 4094 times:

Nothing wrong with trying to reward employee work groups for saving fuel.

Everyone from grounds ops, maintenance, dispatchers, flight attendants to certainly pilots directly effect use of such expensive resource.

Quoting pilotpip (Reply 1):
Since then, fuel savings programs are illegal in the US.

 

Go look at the new AA dispatcher contract. Employees get direct cash payout for reaching fuel performance target.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlinesimairlinenet From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 909 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (1 year 3 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 3981 times:

Quoting Max Q (Reply 2):
At Continental in the late '80's and early '90's we had a 'fuel gainsharing' program where a baseline burn was established for each fleet type. If this was bettered all Pilots received a bonus check once a quarter.

At Northwest, I was responsible for running the numbers for our fuel bonus program. It was fleetwide and for all Flight Ops employees (self included). The difficult part is that the target was set based on a certain mix of aircraft hours that didn't necessary line up to reality. Adjustments abounded.


User currently offlinericgallo From Brazil, joined Apr 2013, 4 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (1 year 3 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3965 times:

Thanks for your help, everyone!

Why Continental gaves up its fuel bonus policy?


User currently offlineFlyHossD From United States of America, joined Nov 2009, 831 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (1 year 3 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3934 times:

Quoting ricgallo (Reply 10):
Why Continental gaves up its fuel bonus policy?

Good question. I recall sitting in a CO MD-80 in Denver after landing and waiting 30 - 35 minutes for a gate. The crew turned off the engines AND the APU. As you might imagine, it became stifling hot.

Maybe that type of decision making lead CO to discontinue the program.



My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 12, posted (1 year 3 months 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 3852 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 8):
Nothing wrong with trying to reward employee work groups for saving fuel.

The co. has a profile they expect a crew to follow as well as taxi procedures. As I posted there's not much leeway to adjust or "improve" on these procedures. When you do you get guys that will very creative thus blowing the whole idea. see post below.

Quoting FlyHossD (Reply 11):
Maybe that type of decision making lead CO to discontinue the program.

Hey they saved fuel didn't they? Pissed off a few pax in the mean time though.


User currently offlinericgallo From Brazil, joined Apr 2013, 4 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 3 months 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 3844 times:

Thanks, again!

Are any paper/academic study that relates fuel bonus policy to unsafe practices?

best regards,

Ricardo


User currently onlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21420 posts, RR: 56
Reply 14, posted (1 year 3 months 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 3820 times:

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 5):
The problem with that is usually the pilots have very little to do with it really.

   The dispatcher picks the cost index - the pilot could use a lower one, but then they'd fly slower and would arrive later - not great for the airline's on-time stats. ATC can assign less optimal speeds, routes or altitudes. Turbulence can force a pilot to select a less optimal altitude (and this is probably where passengers would see the greatest effect - bumpier flights as pilots try to ride things out rather than descend to smoother air). So long as the pilot is flying on the company profile, there's not a whole lot of control that they have over fuel burn.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineMax Q From United States of America, joined May 2001, 4314 posts, RR: 19
Reply 15, posted (1 year 3 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3761 times:

Quoting bueb0g (Reply 3):

I think he was specifically referring to pilots being paid extra for burning less fuel, not fuel saving initiatives in general.

And I answered that question.

Quoting Max Q (Reply 2):


At Continental in the late '80's and early '90's we had a 'fuel gainsharing' program where a baseline burn was established for each fleet type. If this was bettered all Pilots received a bonus check once a quarter.
Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 5):
The problem with that is usually the pilots have very little to do with it really. You taxi, cruise, land and taxi to the gate. Delays and weather cause most of the inconveniences

Not really true, there are still many things Pilots can do to cut down on fuel burn.

Quoting ricgallo (Reply 10):

Why Continental gaves up its fuel bonus policy?

That policy was done away with for some of the reasons discussed, there were Pilots that took it to ridiculous extremes, and that, combined with the company realizing they could cut down on fuel use anyway without paying them a bonus saw an end to the program.



The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 16, posted (1 year 3 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 3743 times:

Quoting Max Q (Reply 15):
Not really true, there are still many things Pilots can do to cut down on fuel burn.

what do you say those things are. where I was, the co. decided that two eng taxis, flying the flight planned mach, don't carry extra fuel and limit APU usage up to a reasonable point was really about it. As someone else as well as me said, some pilots would take it to an extreme and something bad would happen. The co. published monthly fuel savings by jet and it was astronomical just by doing these things. I could just see somebody trying to do a one eng taxi if they thought they would get a bonus. hey surely you've seen someone taking catering to the hotel to save a buck!  Wow!


User currently offlineMax Q From United States of America, joined May 2001, 4314 posts, RR: 19
Reply 17, posted (1 year 3 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 3680 times:

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 16):
what do you say those things are.

[quote=CosmicCruiser,reply=16]what do you say those things are. where I was, the co. decided that two eng taxis, flying the flight planned mach, don't carry extra fuel and limit APU usage up to a reasonable point was really about it[/quot



Direct routings, flying recommended altitudes, updating winds in the FMC regularly. Flight plan Mach is a start but it's far more efficient to incorporate a cost index which will more accurately adjust the mach for the best fuel burn and this will vary with the winds.


Straight in approaches when possible, single engine taxi is not always appropriate depending on Aircraft type and weight.



The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 18, posted (1 year 3 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3626 times:

Quoting Max Q (Reply 17):
Direct routings, flying recommended altitudes, updating winds in the FMC regularly. Flight plan Mach is a start but it's far more efficient to incorporate a cost index which will more accurately adjust the mach for the best fuel burn and this will vary with the winds.


Straight in approaches when possible, single engine taxi is not always appropriate depending on Aircraft type and weight.

Good morning Max Q, With the exception of direct routings these are all just co. policy. As far as direct routings we were told not to just arbitrarily ask for direct because in some cases direct was longer than the flight plan due to new wind vector. we were told to contact dispatch before accepting direct routes. I watched the dispatcher choose the route for the N.A. crossing one day and he input for this trip, 4 routes and altitudes. One being best fuel one best time and two were variations of the criterior. Depending on the most important factor of the day that's what you got. For example an early morning arrival on sunday had no time restrictions so it was fuel all the way. A strong headwind that could potentially make you late it was mach all the way.


User currently offlineMax Q From United States of America, joined May 2001, 4314 posts, RR: 19
Reply 19, posted (1 year 3 months 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 3521 times:

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 18):
As far as direct routings we were told not to just arbitrarily ask for direct because in some cases direct was longer than the flight plan due to new wind vector. we were told to contact dispatch before accepting direct routes. I watched the dispatcher choose the route for the N.A. crossing one day and he input for this trip, 4 routes and altitudes. One being best fuel one best time and two were variations of the criterior. Depending on the most important factor of the day that's what you got. For example an early morning arrival on sunday had no time restrictions so it was fuel all the way. A strong headwind that could potentially make you late it was mach all the way.

Very good points and you are right, direct is not always quicker, having the latest winds in the box will help and the prediction should give you an idea whether it's 'worth it' before you execute a direct routing.


You didn't mention cost index though, and I think this is a major contributor to all savings, fuel and otherwise these days.



The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 20, posted (1 year 3 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 3467 times:

Yeah I didn't because for us it was also dictated on the F/P.

User currently offlineMax Q From United States of America, joined May 2001, 4314 posts, RR: 19
Reply 21, posted (1 year 3 months 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 3380 times:

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 20):
Yeah I didn't because for us it was also dictated on the F/P.

Do you always use the cost index on the F Plan or do you change it in flight if necessary ?



The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 22, posted (1 year 3 months 21 hours ago) and read 3292 times:

As most know I just retired last Dec. but we didn't change it in flight. If a speed change was required we just did a speed edit. CI 75 was letting the jet fly ECON and CI 200 was whatever mach was on the flt/pln. I think they may have added additional CIs since I left. A few times we would be scheduled for a mach .82 for a Europe flight and if we had any significant delays after t/o I have ACARS a request for .84 to make up some time an gotten it. It was strictly a matter of what dispatch thought was important.

User currently offlineMax Q From United States of America, joined May 2001, 4314 posts, RR: 19
Reply 23, posted (1 year 3 months 11 hours ago) and read 3173 times:

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 22):


As most know I just retired last Dec. but we didn't change it in flight. If a speed change was required we just did a speed edit. CI 75 was letting the jet fly ECON and CI 200 was whatever mach was on the flt/pln. I think they may have added additional CIs since I left. A few times we would be scheduled for a mach .82 for a Europe flight and if we had any significant delays after t/o I have ACARS a request for .84 to make up some time an gotten it. It was strictly a matter of what dispatch thought was important.

Econ is the only mode of VNAV that our cost index can be inputed to and controlled by.


There have been times, returning from Europe tight on fuel in the 757 where we have had to use a cost index of zero to squeeze every last mile out of the tanks.


Wish you the best in your retirement CCruiser.



The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
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