Slow Down and Save: Airline Pilots Around the World Ordered to Slash Sky Time

Slow Down and Save: Airline Pilots Around the World Ordered to Slash Sky Time


Every motorist knows the value of easing up on the accelerator to save on fuel consumption, and cash-strapped airlines are now following their example and ordering their pilots to slow down in an effort to save fuel. Escalating oil prices have led to a fall in profits for many airlines, and even budget airline Ryanair reported that its profits had fallen by a fifth. Concerned passengers needn’t worry as flight times will not be increased by more than a few minutes, but just this slight increase in journey time could save airlines hundreds of millions of dollars in fuel costs.


Airlines That Are Slowing Down 


Ryanair recently announced that it will add two minutes to every hour of flight time, and this small extension will result in a 15% overall reduction on the airline’s fuel bill. Ryanair’s profits fell by 21% over the last quarter despite passenger numbers increasing by 3%. Their revenue had also increased by 5%, but a fuel cost increase of 6% meant that any extra profits were immediately eaten up by their increased fuel bill. Ryanair came under fire earlier this year after pilots were instructed to reduce the amount of emergency fuel they carried on board to save on costs. Several US airlines have been slowing down their flights since 2008, and companies such as Southwest Airlines managed to save $42 million in a year by extending flight times by just one or two minutes.


Military Cutbacks 


Even the military has had to take some drastic measures to reduce its fuel costs, and formation flying has been found to offer the perfect solution for military jets. Vortex surfing is the practice of flying one plane behind another in a V formation allowing the rear planes to ride in slipstreams created by the one in front. This technique is most commonly observed in nature, and large birds flying in an arrow shape is a perfect example of vortex surfing. To experience the thrill of flying yourself, visit for a wide range of different flight options. The US military report that they have managed to cut their fuel costs by 10% after adopting this technique, and it is only a matter of time before commercial airlines begin considering it for their fleets. Last year the US Air Force was ordered to slow its fleet of 4,693 aircraft after rising fuel costs added an extra $1 billion to its 2012 fuel bill.


Rising fuel costs are something motorists and homeowners have been battling with for several years, and the cost of filling up the car has almost doubled over the last ten years. As well as saving on fuel costs, driving or flying more economically will have a dramatic effect on the environment as the majority of greenhouse gases are produced by transportation emissions and the burning of fossil fuels. Fuel economy should be a priority for every motorist, and government schemes to reduce the amount of cars on the road will soon have to become more prominent in order to tackle global warming.

by Paul Guerrier

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