Topics / Airline fuel efficiency

In 2011 the ICCT began studying airline operations to provide consumers, researchers, and policymakers with better information about airline efficiency and CO2 emissions. Our initial focus has been on the U.S. domestic market, which currently accounts for approximately one-quarter of global aviation CO2 emissions. Aviation fuel use in the U.S., moreover, is projected to grow almost 2% annually for the next 20 years. Working with researchers at the FAA’s National Center of Excellence for Operations (NEXTOR) at UC Berkeley, we developed a novel statistical approach allowing an apples-to-apples comparison of fuel efficiency independent of airline size, operating structure, and business model.

Fuel accounts for about a third of an airline’s operating costs, creating an incentive for airlines to manage their fuel consumption through technological and operational improvements. Nonetheless, our annual fuel efficiency rankings have identified a large (~26%) and stable fuel efficiency gap among U.S. domestic airlines, falling gains from fuel efficiency for U.S. airlines over time, and little correlation between the profitability an airline and its overall fuel efficiency. The research highlights the importance of effective policies to help constrain aviation emissions growth domestically and internationally.

Most Recent

Evaluates the trajectory of GHG emissions from international aviation in the U.S. and Canada as well as the possible GHG reductions that could be made from deployment of alternative jet fuels (AJFs) within the framework of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).

Evaluates the potential for alternative jet fuels (AJFs) to decarbonize the aviation sector and the risks associated with those fuels’ sustainability, costs and barriers to commercialization. 

Finds that fuel consumption of new aircraft designs could be cut by 25% in 2024 and 40% in 2034 using cost-effective emerging technologies—double the rate of improvement seen in designs coming from manufacturers now in response to market forces alone.

2017.06.14
Why aren’t we seeing more radically fuel-efficient aircraft, the way we're seeing more efficient cars and trucks? You can get a lot of different answers to that question, depending on who you ask.
Blog Post
2017.05.30

Evaluates the trajectory of GHG emissions from international aviation in the U.S. and Canada as well as the possible GHG reductions that could be made from deployment of alternative jet fuels (AJFs) within the framework of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).

Publication: Briefing
2017.03.22
Evaluates the potential for alternative jet fuels (AJFs) to decarbonize the aviation sector and the risks associated with those fuels’ sustainability, costs and barriers to commercialization. 
Publication: White paper
2016.10.03
Optimism is growing for a potential deal at ICAO’s 39th Assembly this week on a global market-based measure (MBM) to price carbon emissi
Blog Post
2016.09.27

Finds that fuel consumption of new aircraft designs could be cut by 25% in 2024 and 40% in 2034 using cost-effective emerging technologies—double the rate of improvement seen in designs coming from manufacturers now in response to market forces alone.

Publication: Report
2016.03.16
In airline economy class, the tradeoff for lower fares includes
Blog Post
2015.11.16

This study is an extension of ICCT’s work benchmarking U.S. airline fuel efficiency on domestic operations since 2010.

Publication: Report
2015.10.22

Annual update to ICCT's ranking of U.S. airlines by fuel efficiency on domestic operations. The gap between most- and least-efficient airlines narrowed slightly to 25%, and overall industry fuel efficiency improved by 1.7%.

Publication: White paper
2015.01.06
As we enter the new year many of us are in the habit of making New Year’s resolutions. Personally, I take the time to balance my family’s books, mostly financially but from time to time environmentally as well.
Blog Post
2014.12.05
One of the main takeaways from our 2013 U.S. airline fuel efficiency ranking is that overall U.S.
Blog Post

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