Fuel Smart Celebrates its 5th Anniversary

AA Washing the engine can save 7.2 million gallons of fuel.

We celebrated the 5th anniversary of our fuel-conservation program in 2010, with a whopping 500 million gallons of fuel saved over the past five years. That’s enough gallons to fill more than 750 Olympic-sized swimming pools!

The Fuel Smart program was established in 2005 to engage all American employees to find fuel-saving opportunities across every aspect of our business.
Already having a huge impact on our carbon footprint, their ideas have included the following:

  • Single-engine taxi: When safe and operationally feasible, American pilots use only one aircraft engine during taxi to and from gates, potentially saving at least 2.8 million gallons of fuel and reducing CO2 emissions by 26,000 metric tons annually.
  • Lighter catering carts: American recently retired some 19,000 catering carts and replacing them with newer, lighter models that will reduce average aircraft weight by 124 pounds. Now deployed, the lighter carts save 1.9 million gallons of fuel and reduce CO2 emissions by 18,000 metric tons annually.
  • Engine wash: By removing contaminants, an engine wash program now in operation at six major airports is expected to save 7.2 million gallons of fuel and reduce CO2 emissions by 69,000 metric tons annually.

In addition, since 2005 American Airlines has employed an innovative flight planning process that enables us to operate on time at the lowest cost possible, a method that saves almost 14 million gallons of fuel each year.

In 2010, we established a special Fuel Smart/Vets initiative. The program allocates a portion of the proceeds from Fuel Smart savings to assist those who have served or currently serve in the U.S. military when they need access to medical and related resources. In 2010, a total of $409,513 was provided to Air Compassion for Veterans, a not-for-profit organization. These funds made possible nearly 1,000 flights on American and American Eagle aircraft, helping not only veterans and military personnel, but also family members visiting service men and women who are undergoing treatment away from home.

We have also advocated for and led industry-wide developments in Area Navigation, or RNAV. Developed to maximize the use of available airspace without compromising safety, RNAV conserves fuel and reduces CO2 emissions by moving planes via the most efficient, often shorter, flight path. Currently, RNAV procedures are in place at five major airports, with more airports to follow. Already in use up and down the West Coast by aircraft that meet the requirements, RNAV routes will also be implemented in route between airport terminal areas.

Lightening the Load

An airplane full of people and cargo is a heavy vessel, and the heavier it is, the more energy it takes to get it from one place to another. For example, an average transcontinental flight on a Boeing 767 (New York to Los Angeles) consumes more than 7,400 gallons of fuel; an average Boeing 777 flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to Narita, Japan, consumes more than 26,000 gallons.

For each pound of extra weight removed from every aircraft, AA saves as more than 11,000 gallons of fuel annually fleet-wide. By removing 100 pounds of unnecessary weight from each aircraft, AA could save more than 1.1 million gallons of fuel fleet-wide over the course of a year.

Removing those pounds is an ounce-by-ounce process. Among other efforts to conserve fuel and reduce emissions on every flight, American is replacing every seat cushion in the AA fleet with a lighter model, deploying lighter-weight on-board wheelchairs, and even coating our aircraft with a clear polymer coating to help reduce drag.

Did you ever wish you could learn to pack lighter? The next time you’re lugging a heavy bag through the airport, remember that lightening your load as an air traveler would be good for the environment, too.

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