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Home > Airlines > Is it true that airlines are cutting back on fuel to save costs?
Is it true that airlines are cutting back on fuel to save costs?
Aviation - Airlines
Wednesday, 09 November 2005 05:43

Hi Captain Lim,

First, thanks for a great website. I didn*t think I had a fear of flying until I recently took a three-hop trip from Cleveland to Little Rock (with stops at Chicago and St Louis). On one leg, we experienced what you would probably classify as mild turbulence, but in my limited flying experience as a passenger, it was quite unnerving.

I had a few questions. I am planning an overseas trip next year and have a few concerns. Hopefully it will be on a Boeing 777 after reading about it on your site!

With the downturn in economy and airlines trying to cut back on costs, I am concerned that planes are only being fueled *just enough* to get to their destination to save money. I don*t want to run out of gas over the Atlantic.

There is another website out there (I won*t publicize it by mentioning it by name) that is run by a former flight attendant which basically says the opposite of everything, including what your site says. It mentions planes being allowed to take off with 5 inch holes in them; that the cabin air is full of chemicals and pesticides; and that maintenance is sloppy because the employees are paid minimum wage and simply don*t really care and are under pressure to just keep the planes in the air. I hope you can respond to these allegations.

Thanks for the information on ditching; before I read it I had pretty much figured out that the safety presentation was just to calm people and that water landings were really impossible. I feel much better now

Thanks,

Matt

Hi Matt,

For the answers on your fear about cutting costs, please read them in my previous FAQ.
 

No doubt airlines continue to be proactive by encouraging pilots to cut cost, a professional pilot will not accept "just enough" fuel if he thinks it is not "just enough" regardless what the management says. (Some airlines would require pilots to give reasons for taking extra fuel.) He flies a multi-million airplane and is responsible for the property and the lives of his passengers and would ask for more with reasons if the destination and diversion weather were not favorable.

I will tell you something about the Boeing 777 (probably a lesson learned from the Canadian Boeing 767 that crash landed because of an error during the refueling process.) - the computer on this plane will warn the pilot "INSUFFICIENT FUEL" if it has insufficient fuel for the flight - say, from New York to London, well before departure. So no worries that you would run out of gas at any time over the Atlantic on the Boeing 777!

Yes, I did mention about a Boeing plane being capable of withstanding a small clean gunshot hole that penetrate the fuselage or the cabin.


I do not agree with the statement that the cabin is full of chemicals, pesticides and that maintenance is sloppy because the employees are paid minimum wages. It must have been a sweeping statement from a disgruntled employee from a small air charter company! As I do not know which airline you are referring to, I cannot comment further on the allegation specifically.

I am glad that you felt better now after reading about ditching here (What happens when all your engines fail over the Atlantic?)

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