While I was on a trip to Sardinia this week, I read the International Herald Tribune, and found out that airlines are finding new ways to shave their costs in this time of climbing fuel prices. One way is to slow the plane down, and add several minutes to the arrival time. This saves as much as $548 per long haul flight for Delta, and passengers aren’t going to notice.
Southwest began slowing down each flight by 1-3 minutes two months ago, and projects it will save $42 million in fuel this year. Jet Blue adds an average of just under two minutes per flight, saving $13.6 million each year by going about 10 miles per hour slower. Another way to save fuel is to land with just one engine running. By using just one to land, a European carrier saves hundreds of gallons of fuel.
Don’t be alarmed, this isn’t that uncommon…it’s a good way to save because you don’t need two engines to fly the plane, or to land it. You do need both to take off, however, so nobody is trying that out yet.