GARUDAROD
Topic Author
Posts: 1139
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2000 4:39 am

Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:54 am

MSNBC has an interesting story regarding airlines cutting back on the amount of fuel they
are carrying in order to cut back on their expenditures. This could be interesting in light of
all of the recent safety groundings.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24034468
Cargo doesn't whine, moan, or complain
 
RDUDDJI
Posts: 1717
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2004 4:42 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:07 am



Quoting GARUDAROD (Thread starter):
MSNBC has an interesting story regarding airlines cutting back on the amount of fuel they
are carrying in order to cut back on their expenditures. This could be interesting in light of
all of the recent safety groundings.

This really isn't anything new. When I was working in Flight Control 5 years ago, we were conserving fuel. The media will jump on any opportunity for ratings, and the airlines are a great place these days!
Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
 
tdscanuck
Posts: 8572
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:25 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:18 am



Quoting GARUDAROD (Thread starter):
MSNBC has an interesting story regarding airlines cutting back on the amount of fuel they
are carrying in order to cut back on their expenditures. This could be interesting in light of
all of the recent safety groundings.

I have a hard time seeing this as a real safety issue. I can't think of a single accident on a modern airliner due to fuel exhaustion that wasn't caused by a plain old screwup (dumping it overboard or not loading the right amount to start with). The required reserves seem to have served us pretty well so far.

Tom.
 
GARUDAROD
Topic Author
Posts: 1139
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2000 4:39 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:19 am



Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 1):
This really isn't anything new. When I was working in Flight Control 5 years ago, we were conserving fuel. The media will jump on any opportunity for ratings, and the airlines are a great place these days!

That is very true, but i this day and age with gas over $114 a barrel, and many if not most airlines losing
money and a string of cancellations for maintenance problems, this is probably not the best time for
the media to focus on this problem. Just wait for the first plane that has to divert because of low
fuel and the media gets ahold of, they will have field day with it. And if its one thing the industry doesnt
need right now, is a dark focused story pertaining to cost reduction vs. passenger safety.
Cargo doesn't whine, moan, or complain
 
bok269
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Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 10:19 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:21 am



Quoting GARUDAROD (Reply 3):
Just wait for the first plane that has to divert because of low
fuel

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this happens all the time.
"Reality is wrong, dreams are for real." -Tupac
 
Goldenshield
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Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2001 3:45 pm

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:23 am

Name to me one time when a part 121 airline since 9/11 has had an emergency landing or accident because of fuel exhaustion—especially because of the reduction of fuel carried.
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GARUDAROD
Topic Author
Posts: 1139
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2000 4:39 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:29 am



Quoting Bok269 (Reply 4):


Quoting GARUDAROD (Reply 3):
Just wait for the first plane that has to divert because of low
fuel

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this happens all the time.

Having to divert because of delays due to weather or traffic, yes.
Having to divert because the airline purposely loaded less fuel to save money??
Will be a big problem.

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 5):
Name to me one time when a part 121 airline since 9/11 has had an emergency landing or accident because of fuel exhaustion—especially because of the reduction of fuel carried.

The BA B777 at LHR. Cause was determined to be fuel starvation due to fuel contamination?
Cargo doesn't whine, moan, or complain
 
RDUDDJI
Posts: 1717
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2004 4:42 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:33 am



Quoting GARUDAROD (Reply 3):
Just wait for the first plane that has to divert because of low
fuel and the media gets ahold of, they will have field day with it.

It happens hundreds of times a month. When conditions change quickly at a busy destination airport (be it a storm, disabled aircraft, security issue) aircraft en-route cannot hold indefinitely, so when they approach their minimum fuel, either they will declare it, or divert to their alt. If they had no alt required, then hopefully the pilots are smart enough to call dispch as soon as they enter a hold (with no EFC, or a ridiculous EFC time) and have them work up numbers for an alt. In all my time in Flight Control, I've never heard a pilot act surprised when they had to divert for fuel...It does suck, but can be managed with communication and planning.
Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
 
bok269
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RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:08 am



Quoting GARUDAROD (Reply 6):
Cause was determined to be fuel starvation due to fuel contamination?

Source?

And even if it was contamination, that doesn't mean that BA didn't fuel the aircraft. What it means is that the aircraft was fueled to appropriate levels but the fuel became contaminated for whatever reason. The engines were starved of fuel, not the aircraft itself.
"Reality is wrong, dreams are for real." -Tupac
 
GARUDAROD
Topic Author
Posts: 1139
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2000 4:39 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 5:59 am

Cargo doesn't whine, moan, or complain
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:27 am

The MSNBC article from 4/15 is the same article that first appeared on on KXAS on 2/18, and it's still a piece of crap journalism. I posted the following on KXAS' site back in February, and since they've recycled the story, I recycled my comments on MSNBC's blog as well as the reporter's.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ordinarily, I'm happy to see folks recycle things, as
it helps the environment, but in MSNBC's case, all
they did April 15th was to re-cycle Grant's original
story from mid-February (Sweeps!) from his home
station KXAS in Ft. Worth, Texas.

In keeping with that same spirit, I'll also recycle my
response comments to Grant back then, which I also
posted on UncleBarky.com, a Dallas-Ft. Worth site that
comments on local media. To wit, Uncle Barky later
stated: "That's possibly the most detailed explanation
I've ever received on anything in these comments
sections, "OPNLguy." I appreciate the time it took for
you to post them. Thank you.
Uncle B | 02.20.08 - 5:55 pm | #

So, grab a cold one, and follow along with this
re-run:


Did you happen to catch KXAS's story of low-fuel
airliners? What garbage!

http://www.nbc5i.com/news/153379...945/ detail.html

My comments below...

KXAS’s “news” item on low-fuel airliners is sadly
typical of the “scare the snot out of the
unknowledgeable viewing public” story that we see
during TV’s “sweeps” ratings periods, and the February
“sweeps” we’re in now are no exception. Additionally,
KXAS was deftly “played” by AA’s pilot union, the
Allied Pilots Association (APA), who apparently
everyone but KXAS seems to know has been bitterly at
odds with AA/AMR management on an assortment of labor
issues. In making the on-camera comments, the APA
spokespilot has not only thrown their fellow AA
employees (i.e. flight dispatchers) under the bus to
further the APA’s own agenda, but he’s also given the
entire airline industry an unwarranted black eye, not
to mention misleading the public.

Here’s what the APA spokespilot didn’t tell anyone,
and KXAS was too lazy to research, since the facts
would have gotten in the way of the story.

Here in the USA , scheduled airline fuel loads are
calculated by a flight dispatcher, who are also
airline employees, and are also trained and
FAA-licensed just like the pilots are. Dispatchers are
not “management” and nearly all in the country are
represented by various unions. The dispatcher
determines the fuel load and includes it on a legal
document called a dispatch release, which the
dispatcher also signs. When the captain gets the
release prior to their flight, they review the
dispatcher’s work, and if they agree with the fuel
load and other flight parameters, they too sign the
release. In signing, both dispatcher and captain are
then indicating joint agreement that the flight can be
operated safely, as planned.

Conversely, if a captain doesn’t agree with the
dispatcher’s fuel load, nobody is holding a gun to the
captain’s head or otherwise “forcing” them to sign the
release let alone actually operate the flight—in fact,
the captain has a responsibility under the FAA
regulations –not- to sign the release in such a case.
When disagreements arise, captains and dispatchers are
supposed to communicate and come to a compromise that
each is agreeable with. Once that happens, the release
is amended accordingly, and the flight then can
legally operate. Pretty simple, huh?

Another story error is that the captain is the final
authority for the fuel load on the aircraft. Not true.
There are plenty of situations where dispatchers
desire to carry more (not less) fuel than the captain
wants due to weather and other operational factors
that the captain may not have a full awareness and/or
understanding of. Dispatchers have access to a wider
variety of weather and other information resources
than do the pilots, and the dispatcher works dozens of
lights over the course of a shift that provide
feedback.

Do unexpected situations and diversions still occur?
Sure they do, but the same communications and
concurrence mechanism between dispatcher and captain
successfully resolve them long before they get to the
point of becoming actual tragedies. It might mean that
you’ll divert to Podunk for fuel, but no dispatcher or
captain who truly respects passenger safety and their
ability to retain their FAA license (needed to work,
and thus eat) is going to allow a flight to actually
run out of fuel.

I’ve been a dispatcher for nearly 30 years (not for
AA), and it’s a sad state of affairs for our society
when the media becomes a willing participant in
another group’s desire to suppress and otherwise
obfuscate the facts to further their own agenda and
mislead the public in the process.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
roseflyer
Posts: 9606
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2004 9:34 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:45 am



Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 5):
Name to me one time when a part 121 airline since 9/11 has had an emergency landing or accident because of fuel exhaustion—especially because of the reduction of fuel carried.

Obviously not because of fuel exhaustion, but there have been plenty of planes that have diverted due to fuel. I have seen it many times in the Midwest when a storm cell moves over an airport. An airport like ORD might have a groundstop for as short as 15 minutes, but because airlines were flying too close to the minimum fuel requirement, there was not enough buffer to allow for holding time and diversions to airports like RFD and MKE happen. It's not a safety concern, but it happens.

I believe I heard of one event I think two years ago when a WN 737 was holding for MDW. They decided to divert to IND, but had to divert again to Lafeyette because they didn't have enough fuel to make it safely to their original alternate of IND. That was just heresay, so I'm not sure if it is true, but I have been told it happened.

Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 2):
I have a hard time seeing this as a real safety issue. I can't think of a single accident on a modern airliner due to fuel exhaustion that wasn't caused by a plain old screwup (dumping it overboard or not loading the right amount to start with). The required reserves seem to have served us pretty well so far.

I'm not sure if this fits in your plain old screwup category, but in 1990 an Avianca Boeing 707 ran out of fuel and crashed on landing approach 20 miles from JFK. In this case the plane was holding for an extended period of time. They were cleared for an approach after declaring that they could not hold any longer and that they would not be able to make it to their alternate. Due to weather conditions they had to perform a missed approach and while on the second approach, they ran out of fuel. This is mostly due to poor fuel management, but did result is quite a few changes in how fuel emergencies are handled.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
tdscanuck
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:25 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:47 am



Quoting GARUDAROD (Reply 6):
Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 5):
Name to me one time when a part 121 airline since 9/11 has had an emergency landing or accident because of fuel exhaustion---especially because of the reduction of fuel carried.

The BA B777 at LHR. Cause was determined to be fuel starvation due to fuel contamination?

Fuel starvation and fuel exhaustion are different things. Fuel starvation does occur with fuel exhaustion, but we know that the BA flight wasn't fuel exhaustion because there was lots of fuel left on board. It still might be fuel starvation, but that wouldn't have anything to do with BA shorting the quantity on board.

Also, the investigation is still open and cause hasn't been determined yet.

Tom.
 
gigneil
Posts: 14133
Joined: Fri Nov 08, 2002 10:25 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:59 am



Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 5):
Name to me one time when a part 121 airline since 9/11 has had an emergency landing or accident because of fuel exhaustion—especially because of the reduction of fuel carried.

Delta and American both have had tons in the New York area.

NS
 
bok269
Posts: 1568
Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 10:19 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 7:08 am



Quoting Gigneil (Reply 13):

Delta and American both have had tons in the New York area.

NS

Diversion? Yes. Accident/emergency? No.

Quoting GARUDAROD (Reply 9):

http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthr...14143

I can't view the page. Either way contaminated fuel is not the result of the airline cheaping out on fuel.
"Reality is wrong, dreams are for real." -Tupac
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 7:10 am



Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 11):
I'm not sure if this fits in your plain old screwup category, but in 1990 an Avianca Boeing 707 ran out of fuel and crashed on landing approach 20 miles from JFK. In this case the plane was holding for an extended period of time. They were cleared for an approach after declaring that they could not hold any longer and that they would not be able to make it to their alternate. Due to weather conditions they had to perform a missed approach and while on the second approach, they ran out of fuel. This is mostly due to poor fuel management, but did result is quite a few changes in how fuel emergencies are handled.

Avianca 52 is a different animal, in that it was a Part 129 operaton, and not a Part 121 operation. Part 129 airlines operating into the US basically get kicked back to operating under the rules of the home country. In this case, Avianca 52 had a dispatcher, but his only job duties were to crank out a flight plan out and file it with ATC, but he didn't do anything once the flight departed Colombia. Three holds (at ORF, BOTON, and CAMRN) used up all their fuel for that purpose, and rest is history. You'll note that US FAR Part 121 flights into JFK didn't run out of fuel that night, and that's because our regs and standards are higher, and there was somebody (on the ground) minding the store as far as passing info to the flights, and diverting them when necessary.

The last time a US FAR Part 121 airliner ran out of fuel? IIRC, that would be the UAL DC-8 outside of PDX back in 1978.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
gigneil
Posts: 14133
Joined: Fri Nov 08, 2002 10:25 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 7:13 am



Quoting Bok269 (Reply 14):
Diversion? Yes. Accident/emergency? No.

Emergency landings? Yes.

NS
 
Caspian27
Posts: 190
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 3:48 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 7:56 am

The PIC has the burn data in the release, if he wants more fuel, there's nothing stopping him from asking the fueler to put more on. Happens all the time. Airlines do not purposely load less fuel. We're required by the FAA to have contingency reserves. Most airlines now have fuel conservation profiles and are more stringent about less APU use and single-engine taxis...but that still doesn't eat into your MINTO (Min. Take Off fuel). If you get to be number one at the runway and don't have enough gas, we go back to the gate and get more.

OPNLguy, as usual you're right on the mark! That PDX crash was UAL173 right? As I recall, that was caused mainly by a burnt-out gear indicator light that the entire flight crew got fixated on until they ran out of fuel. In the end: total pilot error, and nothing to do with improper fuel loads.

In any case, I'd love for you to be my dispatcher someday!

[Edited 2008-04-17 00:59:46]
Meanwhile, somewhere 35,000 ft above your head...
 
Goldenshield
Posts: 5015
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2001 3:45 pm

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:23 am



Quoting Gigneil (Reply 16):
Emergency landings? Yes.

So, all of these planes ran out of fuel? I think not. They might have declared a fuel emergency, but they did not run out of fuel.
Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
 
flightopsguy
Posts: 299
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2005 9:51 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:36 am

Most domestic flights will land with 1-2 hours of fuel remaining onboard. Very few will land with only the 45 min. FAA required reserve fuel. Fuel planning is much more sophisticated today than it was 25-30 years ago. Modern aircraft can fly using what's known as Cost Index or variable Mach as the aircraft's weight changes inflight as fuel is burned.
FARs require the fuel load specified by the dispatcher to be on the aircraft at the point of dispatch, unless the captain and the dispatcher can agree on a different fuel number (by perhaps deleting or changing an alternate if conditions allow).
A300-330 BAC111/146/J31/41 B99/1900 CV580 B707-777 DC8/9/10 L188/1011 FH227/28/100 SB340 DO228 EMB2/170 CR2-900 SH330-60
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 11:01 am



Quoting Gigneil (Reply 13):
Delta and American both have had tons in the New York area.

Specifics?

Quoting Caspian27 (Reply 17):
In any case, I'd love for you to be my dispatcher someday!

Depending upon how the upcoming merger nusical chairs ends up playing out, it could theoretically happen...  Wink

I left a question in the reporter's blog, asking him to cite which FAA regulation it was that supposedly made the PIC the ultimate authority over how much fuel gets loaded. Curious to see what the response will be, though I already suspect what the answer will be....
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
AAR90
Posts: 3140
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2000 11:51 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 12:38 pm



Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 11):
but did result is quite a few changes in how fuel emergencies are handled.

Uh... nope. Just re-emphasis training on the different definitions of EMERGENCY, MAYDAY and PAN.

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 15):
You'll note that US FAR Part 121 flights into JFK didn't run out of fuel that night, and that's because our regs and standards are higher, and there was somebody (on the ground) minding the store as far as passing info to the flights, and diverting them when necessary.

The pilots knew they were low on fuel. The pilots NEVER declared an emergency, never used MAYDAY or PAN (international keywords for a flight in distress), and never stressed to ATC that there was any instructions received that they could not comply with. IOW, pilot error.

Quoting Caspian27 (Reply 17):
That PDX crash was UAL173 right? As I recall, that was caused mainly by a burnt-out gear indicator light that the entire flight crew got fixated on until they ran out of fuel. In the end: total pilot error, and nothing to do with improper fuel loads.

Correct, pilot error -- NOT a fuel emergency until the pilots created it. By the time the pilots decided to deal with the low fuel situation, it was too late.

BTW OPNLguy -- comments were right on the mark. APA's recent advertisements and press releases continue their tradition of blaming everything on AA management.
*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
 
iahflyer
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:34 pm

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:33 pm



Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 11):
I believe I heard of one event I think two years ago when a WN 737 was holding for MDW. They decided to divert to IND, but had to divert again to Lafeyette because they didn't have enough fuel to make it safely to their original alternate of IND. That was just heresay, so I'm not sure if it is true, but I have been told it happened.

Are you saying that a plane destined for MDW diverteed to Louisiana or is there another lafeyette in the midwest I don't know about
Little airports with the big jets are the best!! Floyd
 
dtwclipper
Posts: 6668
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2003 3:17 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:38 pm



Quoting IAHFLYER (Reply 22):
or is there another lafeyette

YUP


http://www.city.lafayette.in.us/
Compare New York Air, the Airline that works for your Business
 
DLPMMM
Posts: 2137
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2005 12:34 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:42 pm



Quoting IAHFLYER (Reply 22):
Are you saying that a plane destined for MDW diverteed to Louisiana or is there another lafeyette in the midwest I don't know about

Lafayette, Indiana.

Right next to the home of Purdue University. (West Lafayette, Indiana).
 
GolfBravoRomeo
Posts: 70
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2007 3:12 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:20 pm

Has this Wall Street Journal article been discussed? http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1208...1771422115.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Mentions CO and their TATL 757 ops as a particular concern.
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:22 pm



Quoting AAR90 (Reply 21):
The pilots knew they were low on fuel. The pilots NEVER declared an emergency, never used MAYDAY or PAN (international keywords for a flight in distress), and never stressed to ATC that there was any instructions received that they could not comply with. IOW, pilot error.

All true, and my point was that under the Part 129 ruleset that Avianca was operating under (at the time), there wasn't any authorized and empowered individual on the ground to flight monitor the aircraft, and independently declare the emergency in the absence of the crew's failure to do so.

Quoting AAR90 (Reply 21):
BTW OPNLguy -- comments were right on the mark. APA's recent advertisements and press releases continue their tradition of blaming everything on AA management.

...and the media continues to be a willing participant. The reporter just mentioned on his blog that he didn't interview any dispatchers because the two he had didn't want to go on-camera. They were the only two dispatchers in the area? He couldn't have found a couple of others in the 2 months between the original Feb. KXAS story and MSNBC's April recycling of the story? Bovine fecal materal warning light just started flashing.  Wink The reason he didn't interview any dispatchers is quite clear--they would have burst the bubble of his story, and we just can't have that in the middle of a "sweeps" period, right?

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 11):
I believe I heard of one event I think two years ago when a WN 737 was holding for MDW. They decided to divert to IND, but had to divert again to Lafeyette because they didn't have enough fuel to make it safely to their original alternate of IND. That was just heresay, so I'm not sure if it is true, but I have been told it happened.

They had fuel to legally and safely divert to IND, but when IND unexpectedly started holding their inbound traffic, the alternate was changed to HUF, which is where they went, while still landing safely with legal fuel reserves.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
airtran717
Posts: 590
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:48 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:54 pm



Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 2):
I have a hard time seeing this as a real safety issue. I can't think of a single accident on a modern airliner due to fuel exhaustion that wasn't caused by a plain old screwup (dumping it overboard or not loading the right amount to start with). The required reserves seem to have served us pretty well so far.

Tom.

Exactly right.
 
airtran717
Posts: 590
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:48 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 5:09 pm

Airlines can't override the FAA's fueling regulations. Airliners carry required emergency reserves. What I think this means is that fuel burns will be more closely calculated and fuel loads... FOB or fuel on board will be reduced. THat doesn't mean the reserves will be reduced, just that fuel ordered will be more closely monitored by company. The excesses once allowed will be reduced only to what is absolutely necessary to get you there.

As usual, a simple topic being blown out of proportion by conjecture and speculation rather than actual knowledge of the topic in question. I'd say all the pilots, fuelers, and dispatchers on A.net know better than John Q.....

Fuel related issues happen from pilot error or mechanical failure, not purposeful reduction in fuel loaded.

717
 
dispatchguy
Posts: 606
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 6:08 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 5:16 pm



Quoting AirTran717 (Reply 28):
Fuel related issues happen from pilot error or mechanical failure, not purposeful reduction in fuel loaded.

Or mother nature not caring about how much is loaded on an aircraft, and changes the weather so that the planned winds aloft are much rosier than the actual winds/weather...
Nobody screws you better than an airline job!
 
airtran717
Posts: 590
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:48 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 7:49 pm



Quoting Dispatchguy (Reply 29):

That too.  Smile
 
WunalaYann
Posts: 2128
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2005 12:55 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:48 pm



Quoting GARUDAROD (Reply 3):
That is very true, but i this day and age with gas over $114 a barrel, and many if not most airlines losing
money and a string of cancellations for maintenance problems, this is probably not the best time for
the media to focus on this problem.

I am the first one to denounce the media's thirst for "sensationalism" but at the same time I do not think there is a good or bad time to bring attention to any particular issue, regardless of the country, industry, social class, etc. If there is no issue with fuel loaded on planes (and it seems to me the most likely scenario), then as usual the media will make fools of themselves.

But if indeed there is a story behind it (and I believe there is not), then it is the media's responsibility to report it.

That airlines are collapsing/merging/BKing left, right and centre at the moment is completely irrelevant.

Quoting GARUDAROD (Reply 6):
Having to divert because the airline purposely loaded less fuel to save money??
Will be a big problem.

Not to mention very expensive short- and medium-term. Short term because you have to find a slot to land somewhere else, then you have to deal with a very delayed flight and accommodation for passengers, and then the legitimate complaints of said angry customers.

Mid-term because you are damaging your market image ("these guys are never on time, always divert, etc.") and also multiplying unnecessary cycles on airframes (more take-offs and landings) which result in higher MX costs and wear and tear.

Not a good idea, no.

Cheers.
 
swf
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 10:59 pm

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Thu Apr 17, 2008 11:25 pm

Mentions CO and their TATL 757 ops as a particular concern




In the summer we see the continental 757s fairly frequently during storms when they are diverted to Stewart. But I've also seen domestic flights from anyone and everyone come in during a good line of thunderstorms in NY.
 
ADXMatt
Posts: 513
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:07 pm

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Fri Apr 18, 2008 1:41 am



Quoting GolfBravoRomeo (Reply 25):
Has this Wall Street Journal article been discussed? http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1208...1771422115.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Mentions CO and their TATL 757 ops as a particular concern.

I'm not a subscriber to the WSJ so I couldn't read it.


No one in this article or the other ones I've seen suggest how much fuel an airplance SHOULD land with. 45 min, 1hour, 2 hours, 3 hours?

Should the FAA minimum of 45 min be raised?
 
fxra
Posts: 600
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 1999 1:03 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Fri Apr 18, 2008 4:41 pm

Matt, the brief synopsis of the article I read on the ATA Smartbrief mentioned that in 2007, 100 Continental flights were reported, by the crews, to be low on fuel on arrival. However, the planes all landed with FAA required minimum fuel on board.

So, based on the brief synopsis I read (also not a subscriber to the WSJ), it seems that some one found some NASA reports or ASAP write ups that pilots said they were low on fuel. Yet, the landed with their reserves I suppose.

Again, it comes down to individual captains and his/her "comfort factor" to determine how much fuel is enough.

As far your question on FAA upping the requirements, don't see it happening and in fact I would expect it to be lowered. Of course the pilots will disagree, and no offense, but I've worked with some who couldn't have enough fuel on the airplane. I know fuel reserves on non US carriers can vary widely, I would like to hear what some nations, especially the Far East and Mid East, require as reserves. In a former life, a charter customer couldn't understand why we used a 10% Int'l reserve instead of their nations 3%.

Have you heard of the Port Authority on NY/NJ actually sticking the tanks of inbound flights that declare min fuel to see if they were being truthful and not just trying to skip the holding?
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GolfBravoRomeo
Posts: 70
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2007 3:12 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Fri Apr 18, 2008 5:08 pm

Hmm, I'm not a subscriber either, it worked for me yesterday. The Star Ledger picked it up here: http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf...ontinentals_lowfuel_claims_ri.html

Here are a few choice quotes:

'Continental Airlines Inc. flight crews reported their aircraft running low on fuel nearly 100 times' ... 'By declaring a fuel emergency or telling controllers they have "minimum fuel" aboard, pilots get expedited handling from traffic controllers.'

'The report also says controllers cited one Continental flight from Barcelona to Newark, on which they said pilots declared "minimum fuel" conditions "on a regular basis," amounting to 23 times in 2007.'

'As early as August 2006, according to the report, there were suspicions in a local FAA office that Continental pilots were using fuel issues as a "flight-planning tool" to avoid going to an alternate airport.'

and

'Even if such incidents pose no direct safety threat to passengers, the report concludes, they create "a burden on the air traffic system and an extra distraction for controllers" in a busy region.'
 
IAHFLYR
Posts: 3944
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 12:56 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Fri Apr 18, 2008 6:48 pm

Quoting IAHFLYER (Reply 22):
Are you saying that a plane destined for MDW diverteed to Louisiana or is there another lafeyette in the midwest I don't know about

You really need to get out more!   

Quoting GARUDAROD (Thread starter):
This could be interesting in light of all of the recent safety groundings.

I don't see any safety issues at all with the lighter fuel loads, nor any reason to think there will be an increase in the declaring "minimum fuel" than you currently find in the winter months with westbound flights fighting the howlin jet stream.

Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 31):
If there is no issue with fuel loaded on planes (and it seems to me the most likely scenario), then as usual the media will make fools of themselves.

  

[Edited 2008-04-18 11:49:47]
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
GolfBravoRomeo
Posts: 70
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2007 3:12 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Fri Apr 18, 2008 8:15 pm



Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 36):
I don't see any safety issues at all with the lighter fuel loads, nor any reason to think there will be an increase in the declaring "minimum fuel" than you currently find in the winter months with westbound flights fighting the howlin jet stream.

I agree on safety but the margin of error gets smaller while people still remain people.

Can you give us a sense of the number of flights declaring when the wind is howling? Is it a real pain or just eh, it happens - no big deal?
 
ADXMatt
Posts: 513
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:07 pm

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Fri Apr 18, 2008 8:18 pm



Quoting FXRA (Reply 34):
Have you heard of the Port Authority on NY/NJ actually sticking the tanks of inbound flights that declare min fuel to see if they were being truthful and not just trying to skip the holding?

No the port authority could care less. The FAA FSDO is another story... Our ACARS system puts the arrival fuel into the computer and reports can be run.

Quoting FXRA (Reply 34):
In a former life, a charter customer couldn't understand why we used a 10% Int'l reserve instead of their nations 3%.

Most major US flag carriers have exemptions from the faa to use 5% plus 30 min instead of the 10% as in the regs.
 
AirNZ
Posts: 544
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2005 6:03 pm

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Fri Apr 18, 2008 11:45 pm



Quoting GARUDAROD (Reply 6):
The BA B777 at LHR. Cause was determined to be fuel starvation due to fuel contamination?

Hmm! correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I'm aware the investigation has not yet concluded nor any cause determined.
Thus, how do you know what the rest of us don't?
Flown:F27/TU134/Viscount/Trident/BAC111/727/737/747/757/767/777/300/310/320/321/330/340/DC9/DC10/Dash8/Shorts330/BAe146
 
worldtraveler
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2003 6:18 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Fri Apr 18, 2008 11:55 pm

Let's be clear.

There is a big difference between reducing fuel loads in order to minimize the amount of unnecessary weight that is being carrier AND reducing fuel loads in such a way that safety and the efficiency of the air traffic control system is compromised.

There is one airline that is specifically mentioned in both the MSNBC and the WSJ articles and that is CO.

Given that BCNEWR didn't even operate every day of the year during 2007, 23 "fuel minimum" declarations is way out of line. It has long been known that CO operates at the operational margins of its aircraft moreso than other US airlines. Doing it in and out of congested NYC airspace is irresponsible.


as the WSJ article states, "Even if such incidents pose no direct safety threat to passengers, the report concludes, they create "a burden on the air traffic system and an extra distraction for controllers" in a busy region."

It is precisely when airlines raise the possibility of operating in an unsafe manner that the government comes down hard with new regulations. It is alot harder for them to regulate service but they sure can regulate safety.

The 757 is a fine airplane and can certainly be used for transatlantic flights but it cannot be flown with full passengers in winter winds on 4000 mile segments without expecting that there will be planned fuel stops. Showing up in congested, stormy NYC airspace on the fumes and expecting to be cleared immediately to land is a recipe for government intervention and is against FAA regulations.

The most galling paragraph in either article is here:

Continental Airlines, for example, issued two bulletins last year expressing concern over the number of refueling stops that some flights were making en route to Newark, N.J., one of which observed that “adding fuel indiscriminately without critical thinking ultimately reduces profit sharing and possibly pension funding.”

Equating added fuel to reduced profit sharing and pension funding is a threat - and not even a veiled one - to cut safety in order to protect one's livelihood and future. Telling flight attendants to not pour the whole can of soda is one thing; underfueling a flight is quite another.

CO can and should be smacked up the proverbial side of the head for this kind of action - and it needs to be made very clear that this is not an industry accepted practice but one which CO uniquely seems to be willing to do.
 
RJdxer
Posts: 3523
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:14 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Sat Apr 19, 2008 12:25 am



Quoting FXRA (Reply 34):
Yet, the landed with their reserves I suppose

Even if they landed with less than reserve they are still legal. Reserve fuel burns just the same as regular fuel.

Quoting GolfBravoRomeo (Reply 35):
'Continental Airlines Inc. flight crews reported their aircraft running low on fuel nearly 100 times' ... 'By declaring a fuel emergency or telling controllers they have "minimum fuel" aboard, pilots get expedited handling from traffic controllers.'

There is a big difference between "minimum" fuel and "emergency" fuel. Minimum means no undue delay. Emergency means you need direct clearance to the airport, get everyone out of the way.
Warm winds blowing, heating blue skies, and a road that goes forever. I'm going to Texas!
 
worldtraveler
Posts: 3417
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2003 6:18 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Sat Apr 19, 2008 12:32 am



Quoting RJdxer (Reply 41):
There is a big difference between "minimum" fuel and "emergency" fuel. Minimum means no undue delay. Emergency means you need direct clearance to the airport, get everyone out of the way.

but FARs state that you must carry enough fuel for the appropriate hold times. If CO is not able to hold for the acceptable amount of time which is quite normal in NYC airspace - and doing it on a repeated basis -, they are violating FARs. No ratonalization possible.
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
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RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Sat Apr 19, 2008 12:35 am



Quoting WorldTraveler (Reply 42):
but FARs state that you must carry enough fuel for the appropriate hold times. If CO is not able to hold for the acceptable amount of time which is quite normal in NYC airspace - and doing it on a repeated basis -, they are violating FARs. No ratonalization possible.

Which FAR is that? (No help from the audience please...)
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
worldtraveler
Posts: 3417
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2003 6:18 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Sat Apr 19, 2008 1:42 am

I don't have to know all of the statutes of the land to know what is right or wrong whether it deals with murder, taxes, or aviation (and the three are related.  Smile )
 
RJdxer
Posts: 3523
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:14 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Sat Apr 19, 2008 1:51 am



Quoting WorldTraveler (Reply 40):
Showing up in congested, stormy NYC airspace on the fumes and expecting to be cleared immediately to land is a recipe for government intervention and is against FAA regulations.

If a flight shows up in stormy NYC airspace it does not show up on fumes. It shows up with a legal alternate plus intl reserves at the very least. If you can kindly show where one has shown up otherwise please do.

Quoting WorldTraveler (Reply 40):
Equating added fuel to reduced profit sharing and pension funding is a threat - and not even a veiled one - to cut safety in order to protect one's livelihood and future

It is a fact, not a threat. The dispatchers job is too make sure that enough fuel is on board the plane when it hits the end of the runway for take off to meet and most likely exceed FAA minimums. If the flight has to divert for any reason, that's just more work for the dispatcher as well as all the inconvience that goes into it for everyone else. The only person making out on that deal is the fueler at the divert airport. If the pilot then decides he wants to tanker up, the simple fact of hauling more fuel around than is necessary will over time add up in cost. No single flight will break the bank but thousands will.

Quoting WorldTraveler (Reply 40):
CO can and should be smacked up the proverbial side of the head for this kind of action - and it needs to be made very clear that this is not an industry accepted practice but one which CO uniquely seems to be willing to do

When you have some proof that any airline is diverting due to insufficient fuel you will have the beginning of a case.
Warm winds blowing, heating blue skies, and a road that goes forever. I'm going to Texas!
 
fxra
Posts: 600
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 1999 1:03 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Sat Apr 19, 2008 2:02 am



Quoting RJdxer (Reply 41):
Even if they landed with less than reserve they are still legal. Reserve fuel burns just the same as regular fuel.

I've had to convince many a pilot that this is indeed true, especially that over destination you can burn the 10% (in Int'l flights) and they won't have an FAA guy waiting to smite them on arrival.

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 43):
Which FAR is that? (No help from the audience please...)

hrrrmm... is this a trick question?  Smile

Well, I'm going to crack open an adult beverage to help my nerves after the Massive Midwest Quake of 2008.
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futurecaptain
Posts: 1918
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2006 1:54 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Sat Apr 19, 2008 2:03 am



Quoting WorldTraveler (Reply 42):
but FARs state that you must carry enough fuel for the appropriate hold times.

No....

§ 121.639 Fuel supply: All domestic operations.
No person may dispatch or take off an airplane unless it has enough fuel—

(a) To fly to the airport to which it is dispatched;

(b) Thereafter, to fly to and land at the most distant alternate airport (where required) for the airport to which dispatched; and

(c) Thereafter, to fly for 45 minutes at normal cruising fuel consumption or, for certificate holders who are authorized to conduct day VFR operations in their operations specifications and who are operating nontransport category airplanes type certificated after December 31, 1964, to fly for 30 minutes at normal cruising fuel consumption for day VFR operations.
AirSO. ASpaceO. ASOnline. ASO.com ASO. ASO. ASO. ASO. ASO.
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Sat Apr 19, 2008 2:06 am



Quoting WorldTraveler (Reply 44):
I don't have to know all of the statutes of the land to know what is right or wrong whether it deals with murder, taxes, or aviation (and the three are related.

Then how in the world can you be an expert (real or inferred) on FAR interpretations if you can't even cite the applicable FARs?

Quoting FXRA (Reply 46):
hrrrmm... is this a trick question?

Nope, just trying to separate those that -do- know from this type that doth not: (Kinda hard to have an intelligent otherwise, right?)

ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
fxra
Posts: 600
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 1999 1:03 am

RE: Airlines Cutting Fuel To Save Costs

Sat Apr 19, 2008 2:20 am

Futurecaptain, don't forget 121.647

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 48):
Nope, just trying to separate those that -do- know from this type that doth not: (Kinda hard to have an intelligent otherwise, right?)

Gotcha... I see why.

"You know Normie, it's a well known fact....:"
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