Ever wonder how much fuel a particular aircraft type consumes? What about broken down by airline?? If it is US-based carriers piquing that curiosity then it turns out the data is (relatively) easy to get at. The US Department of Transportation collects all sorts of fun details about airline operations and among them is fuel consumption rates. Dump the data into Excel and play a bit with filters and formulae and pretty charts start to emerge.
The charts are more than just pretty, though, when the data is examined more closely; patterns start to emerge. And the patterns are interesting, to say the least. Look at the charts below, for example, and note that the yellow bar is almost universally the longest in each grouping.
So, why is it that Delta Air Lines appears to be consuming more fuel per hour than its competitors on nearly every aircraft type (only on the 752s is it lower than some competition)? Why is US Airways generally nipping at Delta’s heels in that race? And why is United Airlines almost universally the most efficient on a fuel per hour basis? Where both Delta and United operate the same aircraft type the data suggest that United flies using, on average, between 6% and 34% less fuel per hour. It is almost enough to cast some skepticism about the validity of the numbers (I’m quite certain the VX A319 number is wrong, but the others are reasonable enough, despite the wide spread).
Also of note, United’s 787-8 is consuming about the same fuel per hour as the 767-300ERs. But the Dreamliners carry about 25% more passengers so the overall efficiency realized there is significant. Similarly, it is easy to see why United wants to use the 737-900ER as much as possible on domestic routes versus the 757-200. The former consumes ~850 gallons per hour while the latter is at 1050; switching to the new planes means millions in savings because of that. (The domestic numbers are not in the chart here; I pulled them out separate to avoid confusing the overall analysis.)
Lots of data to look at, and almost as many questions as answers once it is parsed and sorted.
Never miss another post: Sign up for email alerts and get only the content you want direct to your inbox.