“We use larger aircraft”: Qantas responds to poorly ranked fuel efficiency

Daisy Doctor

Qantas has been ranked the worst major airline in a new report on airline fuel efficiency.

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has been conducting the study since 2013, and the most recent results have already been creating ripple effects across the industry.

The study found Hainan Airlines and All Nippon Airways (ANA) are the most fuel-efficient airlines on transpacific operations in 2016, both with an average fuel efficiency of 36 passenger-kilometres per litre of fuel, 16 per cent better than the industry average.

Air New Zealand has ranked third for fuel efficiency, a huge win for the airline. Unfortunately, however, Qantas has not fared as well as its neighbour across the Tasman Sea.

Qantas ranked as the least fuel-efficient, falling 41 per cent below the industry average.

The airline was found to have burned an average of 64 per cent more fuel per passenger-kilometre than Hainan and ANA in 2016.

According to the report, Qantas recorded poor fuel efficiency because it operated the most fuel-intensive aircraft at very low load factors for both passengers and freight.

Now, Qantas has released a statement in regards to the study which cites the airline’s larger planes as the cause of its fuel inefficiency.

Alan Milne, Qantas Head of Fuel and Environment, said that while the airline accepts the ranking, they are taking measures to reduce their emissions.

“The reason Qantas ranks low in this study is chiefly because we use larger aircraft, fly very long distances and have premium cabins that naturally have fewer people on board,” said Milne.

“Our Sydney to Dallas route is one of the longest in the world, and ultra-long haul flights have a magnifying effect on fuel burn because you’re carrying a lot of weight [in the form of fuel] at the start of the journey in order to make the distance.

“Unlike other airlines in the study, Qantas offers First Class and two other premium cabins on most of our trans Pacific flights.

“We’re committed to reducing carbon emissions and continually look at ways to lower them across our operations. We are switching our 747s for more fuel-efficient Dreamliners and we have several data-driven programs in place to reduce fuel burn.”

As well as this statement, Qantas provided details of what they are doing to mitigate fuel inefficiency.

“Across our network, Qantas is creating more efficient flight paths based on factors such as forecast winds and employs Dynamic Airborne Reroute Procedures (DARP) which allows for multiple inflight adjustments to the flight path based on updated meteorological conditions. These savings have not been accounted for in the study.

“Qantas Pilots are using a world first flight data application, FlightPulse, which provides industry leading access to the efficiency of their flights and helps them fly more efficiently.

“Last year, we announced that our Los Angeles based aircraft will be powered by biofuel from 2020 through a partnership with LA-based supplier SG Preston and we signed a landmark partnership with Agrisoma Biosciences to work with Australian farmers to grow the country’s first commercial aviation biofuel seed crop by 2020.

Check out the full results from the ICCT study here:


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