Fuel Costs: 33-47%

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Aftermarket data as a conversation topic has really elevated in aviation discussions and is permeating in different ways. It came up today in a fuel conversation.

 

I talked with John Gough, leader of GE Aviation's Fuel & Carbon Solutions group, who said his group asks an airline for certain operating data—from dispatch to digital flight data recorder—and pulls it together to figure out how airlines can save fuel.

 

With historical records stored in different place and different forms (including boxes of the stuff stored in warehouses), how does GE receive, cleanse and validate it? (It receives it from secure data lines to mailed thumb drives.)

 

Gough said when they started, the data collection and validation could take 3-6 months, but now it’s down to as little as 45 days because “we’ve learned how to do it quicker and better.” GE has learned which crucial parameters it needs and has algorithms that find it in the heap of flight data recorder information.

 

With fuel costs consuming 33-47% of an airline’s operating costs, says Gough, think of the value of accurately measuring fuel strategies performance.

 

When fuel costs increase by 5 cents per gallon, an airline needs to earn $1 billion more in revenue to offset that, says Gough, who was a Southwest Airlines pilot before joining GE.

 

How many airlines are really using their operations data to accurately gauge their performance? When it comes to fuel costs and savings, this becomes a no-brainer of why the airline industry needs to get a better handle on their data to optimize performance.

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