Etihad Airways is trimming its annual aviation fuel bill by US $20 million thanks to a series of innovative efficiency measures.
The national airline of the UAE has undertaken an indepth review of all aspects of its flight operations to identify areas where its fuel bill could be reduced. Measures include reducing weight on board the aircraft, changing certain operating procedures, reducing cruise speed where appropriate and increasing the frequency of engine washes.The work, supported by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), highlighted some 23 fuel-efficiency measures. Many of these have now been fully or partially introduced by the Abu Dhabi-based carrier after a detailed examination to ensure continued safe operations.
The airline’s renewed focus upon on-time performance, particularly at its Abu Dhabi base, has also resulted in significant fuel savings, with year-on-year punctuality improvements resulting in aircraft spending less time on the ground.
Etihad has already saved US $12 million so far this year due to the measures and remains on track to achieve its US $20 million target by the end of 2008.
Captain Richard Hill, Etihad Airways’ executive vice president operations, said: “With the high price of aviation fuel and against a deteriorating global economic backdrop, it is increasingly important that Etihad does all it can to control its cost base.
“Fuel is now Etihad’s largest single cost and accounts for between 35 and 40 per cent of the airline’s annual expenditure. This is an area where we are heavily focused to try and generate significant and sustained savings.”
In addition to these latest fuel saving measures, Etihad continues to manage one of the most aggressive and successful fuel hedging policies in the industry. The airline currently has more than 80 per cent of its fuel needs for 2008 hedged and 40 per cent for 2009.
The airline placed one of the largest aircraft orders in commercial aviation history in July at the Farnborough International Airshow in the UK. A key selection criterion in the deal, which includes 100 firm orders for a combination of ‘next generation’ Airbus and Boeing aircraft, was the environmental performance of the aircraft.