AI on a diet: Shed food, water to cut fuel cost

Written by Agencies | Mumbai, August 28: | Updated: Aug 28 2008, 20:38pm hrs
To cut down mounting fuel costs, Air India has adopted a slew of measures including shedding weight on its flights by carrying less food, newspapers and a half-filled water tank.

The aircraft will now be put on a diet...the fly-light programme is expected to bring down fuel costs by Rs 400 crore this fiscal, a senior Air India official said.

Apart from this weight-loss programme, a dust free regime is also proposed as dust in aircraft adds to its weight, leading to an increased fuel consumption.

"Our fuel bill this fiscal is likely to be over Rs 8,000 crore. By adopting the above measures, we aim to bring it down by at least five per cent or Rs 400 crore," the official said.

The state-run air carrier's losses for the fiscal ended March 2008 are said to be in the range of Rs 2,000 crore, against Rs 688 crore (including Indian) in the year-ago period.

Every extra gram of weight on the aircraft adds to fuel cost. So, lesser the weight, lesser the fuel consumption. We will stick to this mantra to cut down our fuel costs, which today account for almost 50 per cent of our total operating cost, the official said.

Heavy meals, voluminous magazines, bulky newspapers and a large quantity of water on-board all result in aircraft guzzling extra fuel, the official said.

We have noticed that passengers generally do not take food in short-haul flights as well as long-haul (within the country) night flights, and a good quantity of that is transported back, the Air India official said, adding that, we are also contemplating serving snacks instead of proper meals on our night flights.

The air-carrier, had, earlier this month, issued a circular on cost-cutting addressed to all departments including operations, ground staff duty (GSD) and engineering departments "to observe all procedures, leading to better fuel-efficiencies in their operating procedures including equipment maintenance and service availability.

Simultaneously, the concerned departments should formulate innovative measures for fuel conservation/efficiency and follow best practices in this regard, the circular said.

Air India is targeting Rs 1,000 crore saving in the current fiscal through cost-control measures.

The airline has engaged the services of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for recommending measures for fuel efficiency.