Aviation

Air passengers to be weighed before boarding to cut fuel costs

Passengers could be weighed before boarding long-haul flights in a bid to cut fuel costs and emissions.

Brittish start-up tech company Fuel Matrix is proposing that passengers be weighed at check-in, in order for aircraft crew to optimally store the correct amount of fuel required for long haul flights.

At present, airlines typically use an estimation based on ‘assumed mass’ to calculate the required fuel load for flights. The Independent reported passengers are assumed to individually weigh 88 kg.

More accurate measurements of passengers’ weight could, therefore, result in more accurate measurements for fuel requirements. This could further contribute to less fuel being required and less green house gases being emitted into the atmosphere.

“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,” Nick Brasier chief operating officer of Fuel Matrix said in a report by The Independent.

Fuel savings can also be made by allocating passengers in the optimum seats to ensure that the aircraft is properly balanced.
Fuel savings can also be made by allocating passengers in the optimum seats to ensure that the aircraft is properly balanced.

Brasier believes that airlines currently load about one per cent more than they need, and, consequently, burn between 0.3 and 0.5 per cent more fuel in carrying an unnecessary surplus of fuel.

Brasier proposed that passengers be weighed while self-checking their baggages, in the same manner that luggage is weighed. Brasier believes that this would not impact upon the confidentiality of customers.

The data gathered would be securely handled and destroyed after the flight lands at its destination.

“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,” Brasier said.

An alternative location for weighing passengers is at the security checkpoint, during full body scans.

It is reported that heavier passengers will not need to pay any extra; however, some airlines have insisted that obese travellers who cannot comfortably sit in a standard seat buy an extra seat.

Fuel Matrix is reportedly in discussions with several international long-haul airlines, including at least one British carrier, about deploying the system.

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