How to Manage Rising Aviation Fuel Costs


For aircraft owners, rising prices are nothing new. Despite this, as the cost of aviation fuel continues to get higher and higher, owners and operators of general aviation and business aircraft are constantly confronted by the need to revamp their aviation fuel cost management methods - no matter what they may be. The constant increase of operating costs related to owning or renting an aircraft affects businessmen, pilots, and aviation enthusiasts alike. Furthermore, it affects owners, flight schools, and fixed base operators (FBOs). Unfortunately, this problem doesn't look like it's going away any time soon.

So, what can be done to keep fuel costs down? If you’ve been in the industry long, you may feel like you have exhausted all of your options. You may have invested in an efficient aircraft specific to your type of operation, or you may have condensed multiple trips into one to save on jet fuel. In dire situations, you may have even had to downsize your fleet. According to a survey done by the National Business Aircraft Association, nearly all aircraft owners stated that fuel cost was a serious concern for them. Many of them tried to limit cost through a variety of actions such as requesting more direct routes, tankering fuel, flying slower, or flying less often. Three-fourths of those surveyed also said that they had switched FBOs because they were able to get lower-priced fuel elsewhere. In this blog, we will cover a few of the other ways you can save money on aviation fuel.

  1. Slow Down

This may seem obvious, but flying slower can be a good fuel conservation method for those who can afford a little more time in their travel itinerary. In the average business jet, fuel accounts for half to two thirds of your variable cost. While the purpose of air travel is to get from place to place much quicker than ground travel, carefully planning your trip and flying at a slower speed can keep costs down. In addition to this, things like reducing aircraft weight and drag, keeping the aircraft clean, using minimal takeoff flaps, and installing winglets can all help decrease drag, increase efficiency, and save fuel.

  1. Get NextGen Equipment

The Next Generation Air Transportation System, or NextGen, is an FAA initiative with the goal of modernizing America's air transportation system to make flying even safer, more efficient, and predictable. Rather than a single technology or product, the NextGen portfolio comprises the planning and implementation of many innovative new technologies and airspace procedures after thorough safety testing. It is one of the most ambitious infrastructure revamps in United States history. Instead of simply making minor changes to aging infrastructure, the FAA aims to introduce sweeping changes by implementing major new technologies and capabilities.

Because one of the purposes of the NextGen initiative is to make the air traffic system more efficient, pilots and operators can take advantage of more direct routing by equipping their aircraft for NextGen. Depending on the avionics installed or not installed on your aircraft, this can be a big investment, but will ultimately save money over time. The FAA plans to continue introducing new technologies, procedures, and policies that benefit passengers, the aviation industry, and the environment through 2025 and beyond.

  1. Fuel Tankering

Some of you may have experimented with fuel tankering, which means buying cheaper fuel (like at your home airport) and bringing it with you on board the aircraft to avoid high-cost fuel elsewhere. However, this method only works if the added weight doesn’t decrease the aircraft’s efficiency to the point where so much fuel is being used that it offsets the savings of cheaper fuel. Be aware that if environmental friendliness is your goal, fuel tankering is not for you. The added weight of the fuel causes the aircraft engine to work harder, therefore emitting more CO2 into the air. Despite this, the studies done on fuel tankering have largely confirmed its economic benefit during single flights.

  1. Fuel Card Discount Programs

Seeking out the best fuel discount program is an obvious and easy way to save money. However, flying out of your way too often may lead an FBO to revoke your card - though that doesn’t happen frequently. Suppliers who offer fuel discount cards include Shell Aviation, Phillips 66, AirBP, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and Air Total. Many of the major oil companies also offer lower-priced contract fuel, but this generally only benefits aircraft operators who use large quantities of fuel.

  1. Flight Planning

Flight planning is the process of devising a flight plan to describe a proposed aircraft flight. It involves two main tasks: fuel calculation, to ensure that the aircraft can safely reach the destination, and compliance with air traffic control requirements, to ensure the aircraft has a clear route. Fastidious flight planning is probably the most easily-controlled fuel-savings option. For instance, resources such as Max-Trax help pilots search for the most affordable fuel along flight routes or within a certain radius of an airport. This allows users to easily find the most efficient fuel stops, as well as important airport and FBO information related to that fuel stop. Over time, the fuel savings from this method will continue to add up.

For aircraft takeoff flaps, aircraft NextGen equipment, and much more, look no further than Aviation Orbit. Owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all types of parts pertaining to the aerospace, civil aviation, defense, industrial, and electronics markets. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, call us at 1-509-449-7700 or email us at sales@aviationorbit.com.


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