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Fuel Sustainability: Simple Adjustments Save Millions

March 16, 2015

Working with the Fuel Sense team has been an eye opening experience. First of all, the knowledge of the individuals on the team is paramount. Just learning how very simple adjustments to our procedures can save millions is astonishing to me. Throughout my career, I have managed in many areas that have a direct impact on aircraft fuel burn, yet I never really thought about my impact to this huge cost until joining the Fuel Sense team.

Since joining the team, our operations team has been working on process changes that will provide additional savings in fuel burn. Projects such as: fouled gates which cause the aircraft to sit burning fuel until the obstruction can be cleared. Who would have thought those few minutes would equate to millions of dollars of wasted fuel?

Secondly, we work with our ramp agents to better plan their load with an aft Center of Gravity (CG), which also helps with fuel burn. Aircraft stability is assured by proper (CG) management in reference to the center of lift. A forward CG causes the tail wing to produce downward lift, which then is compensated by the main wings of the aircraft. A forward CG can increase drag by up to 3percent and directly increases fuel burn. Loading the aircraft with the most rearward permissible CG can reduce drag by 1.5percent.

Proper management of the CG has a significant impact on fuel efficiency. The opportunity to move the center of gravity 2percent aft of the center represents an annual fuel savings potential of $7.1M at $3.15/gallon. This represents 20percent of total projected fuel savings improvement. System wide, 49% of our flights are loaded with an aft CG while 51% fly with a forward CG. To achieve targeted benefits, Ramp Agents would simply apply policy and perform their duties as trained. There is no additional time required to plan an aft CG load. Sustainable fuel savings are most effectively achieved when we change the culture.

Thirdly, we have fully implemented Auto Verify, which has reduced loading time and delayed beacons. Auto Verify is a tool that eliminates paper load sheets and allows the use of hand held devices to scan our containers into the aircraft and ensures proper loading of the containers onto the aircraft.

Simple processes changes, such as the ones above, could have a major impact on fuel burn. If we can get every manager, ramp agent and team leader focused on reducing fuel burn, we could have a major positive impact to this initiative. I am excited about the current initiatives we have in place for FY15 as well as learning from the team additional ways to support the Fuel Sense initiative.

Fuel Sense blog posts:
Fuel Sense: Every Drop Counts at FedEx Express
Fuel Sense: It Only Works When We Work Together
Two Misunderstood Words: Economical and Responsible
Fuel Sustainability: When Does it Make Sense to go Extra Thick?
Saving Fuel to Defend our Nation
How We Overcame Cultural Inertia and Saved Millions


    Mike Hogan says:

    Have all aircraft use single engine to taxi in to ramp. Should save a ton of fuel…Have a good day

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