Passengers may soon be weighed before boarding on long flights in order to reduce fuel costs and cut emissions.
Currently, planes are fuelled based on assumed weights of 88kg per passenger. Airlines currently load about one per cent more fuel than they need and burn between 0.3 and 0.5 per cent more fuel in carrying the extra load made up of this surplus of fuel.
A proposal by British company Fuel Matrix suggests that passengers be individually weighed at check-in so ground crew can more correctly estimate the fuel required for a flight. These accurate measurements for fuel requirements could reduce costs for the airline and help lower emissions.
“The aircraft dispatcher and captain can then work together to calculate the exact ‘zero-fuel weight’ of the aircraft (the weight of the plane itself plus all cargo and passengers) and load the appropriate amount of fuel,” chief operating officer of Fuel Matrix Nick Brasier told The Independent.
“We’re not suggesting people should stand on the scales, but airports could fit ‘pressure pads’ in the bag-drop area in front of each screen.
“After the bag has been checked in, the system can ask, ‘Are you standing on the pressure pad?’
“If the passenger taps ‘Yes’, then the weight can be recorded and passed confidentially to the airline,” said Mr Brasier.
Passengers who like to choose their own seats at check-in may not want to read on, as Fuel Matrix suggests that further savings could be made by airlines allocating passengers in the optimum seats to ensure an aircraft’s proper balance.
According to Travel Weekly, Fuel Matrix is talking with several international long-haul airlines about deploying this system.
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