Effective Fuel Conservation Programs Could Save Millions of Gallons of Aviation Fuel

CED-77-98: Published: Aug 15, 1977. Publicly Released: Aug 15, 1977.

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An increase in the ratio of occupied seats to available seats on commercial airlines, the load factor, above the 53-percent to 55-percent range of recent years could improve the fuel efficiency of U.S. airlines substantially.

Neither the federal government nor the airlines have made major efforts to increase the load factors since the fuel crisis of 1973. The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) cannot require airlines' compliance with minimum load factors as a means of improving fuel efficiency. Board efforts to reduce domestic flight frequencies, which could increase load factors, have been cancelled as a result of court actions.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress should establish higher airline load factors as one of its major objectives and provide CAB with legislative guidance for achieving this objective. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Federal Aviation Administration to give greater attention to fuel conservation by: (1) establishing a monitoring and reporting system to provide management with information on the effectiveness of aviation fuel conservation procedures, the frequency with which these procedures are used, and the fuel saved; (2) requiring aircraft to take ground delays, when possible, when excessive delays are being incurred at a destination airport; and (3) exploring the feasibility of establishing program guidance to evaluate trade-offs between noise abatement and fuel conservation objectives when conflicts occur and, if feasible, provide such guidance to its field offices.


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