Topics / Airline fuel efficiency

In 2011 the ICCT began studying airline operations to provide consumers, researchers, and policymakers with better information about airline efficiency and CO2 emissions. Our initial focus has been on the U.S. domestic market, which currently accounts for approximately one-quarter of global aviation CO2 emissions. Aviation fuel use in the U.S., moreover, is projected to grow almost 2% annually for the next 20 years. Working with researchers at the FAA’s National Center of Excellence for Operations (NEXTOR) at UC Berkeley, we developed a novel statistical approach allowing an apples-to-apples comparison of fuel efficiency independent of airline size, operating structure, and business model.

Fuel accounts for about a third of an airline’s operating costs, creating an incentive for airlines to manage their fuel consumption through technological and operational improvements. Nonetheless, our annual fuel efficiency rankings have identified a large (~26%) and stable fuel efficiency gap among U.S. domestic airlines, falling gains from fuel efficiency for U.S. airlines over time, and little correlation between the profitability an airline and its overall fuel efficiency. The research highlights the importance of effective policies to help constrain aviation emissions growth domestically and internationally.

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Compares the fuel efficiency of 20 airlines operating nonstop flights between the mainland United States and East Asia and Oceania and extends the previous transatlantic fuel efficiency methodology to the transpacific market.

A sharp increase in revenue passenger miles drove both profits and fuel consumption on domestic operations up between 2014 and 2016 for U.S. airlines. Alaska Airlines again ranked first in overall fuel-efficiency, while the gap between it and the least fuel-efficient carrier, Virgin America in 2016, widened slightly to 26%.

Evaluates the trajectory of GHG emissions from international aviation in the U.S. and Canada as well as the possible GHG reductions that could be made from deployment of alternative jet fuels (AJFs) within the framework of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).

2015.11.16

This study is an extension of ICCT’s work benchmarking U.S. airline fuel efficiency on domestic operations since 2010.

Publication: Report
2015.10.22

Annual update to ICCT's ranking of U.S. airlines by fuel efficiency on domestic operations. The gap between most- and least-efficient airlines narrowed slightly to 25%, and overall industry fuel efficiency improved by 1.7%.

Publication: White paper
2015.01.06
As we enter the new year many of us are in the habit of making New Year’s resolutions. Personally, I take the time to balance my family’s books, mostly financially but from time to time environmentally as well.
Blog Post
2014.12.05
One of the main takeaways from our 2013 U.S. airline fuel efficiency ranking is that overall U.S.
Blog Post
2014.11.19

First place is a three-way tie between Alaska, Spirit, and Frontier, but overall the fuel efficiency of U.S. domestic airlines showed no improvement in 2013. The slowing efficiency gains since 2010 highlight the need for policies to reduce aviation carbon emissions.

Publication: White paper
2014.05.30
A couple of weeks ago Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, introduced in its new Airbus A380 jumbo jets “The Residence”, a
Blog Post
2014.05.21

A webinar introducing ICCT’s ranking of U.S. domestic airline fuel efficiency both overall and at the route level for the period of 2010-2012.

 

Event
2014.05.05
The gap between the most fuel-efficient and least fuel-efficient airlines on U.S. domestic operations stayed rock-steady at 26% from 2010 to 2012.
Blog Post

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