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Old May 31, 05, 7:14 pm   #1
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Question How much gas (in $$s) does a UA 747 consume on a typical USA-OZ flight?

Just looking at a UA ticket from here to USA and back, and there was near on $US100 of "Fuel surcharges" on it RT. i.e. US$47.35 each way.

It got me to wondering. If all 347 pax on a full plane pay about that = ~$US17,000 a one-way journey in surcharges, what % of the actual cost of jet fuel does that typically represent being paid direct by the passenger on TOP of their ticket? 5%? 10%? 25%? 50% etc.

Someone here will I am sure know what the average burn on 13.5 hours is, x $$ cost per ton cost of jet fuel.

My curousity is - is this fuel surcharge just covering the recent fuel hikes, or is it darn near paying for the entire United fuel cost on a flight these days?
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Last edited by ozstamps; May 31, 05 at 7:17 pm.
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Old May 31, 05, 7:20 pm   #2
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And as has been posted here before, in passing, I believe the fuel surcharge for tickets that start OZ-USA is higher from UA here ($A60 ow) than it is from United USA-OZ --- that never makes sense to me either.

Does anyone know what the fuel surcharge is for a SFO-OZ fliught on UA that is booked in the USA?
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Old May 31, 05, 7:22 pm   #3
 
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How much fuel does an international plane use for a trip?

Quote:
A plane like a Boeing 747 uses approximately 1 gallon of fuel (about 4 liters) every second.
13.5 hrs = 48,600 seconds, so on a 13.5 hour flight a 747 can be expected to use around 48,600 gallons of fuel. At $1.50/gallon for jet fuel (I heard that figure somewhere else on FT), the 747 will burn about $72,900 worth of fuel.

Divided by 300 passengers, that's $243 per person in fuel costs.
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Old May 31, 05, 7:28 pm   #4
 
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Update:
According to this PDF, jet fuel prices range from $1.58 to $1.69 per gallon.

So, the cost to fly that 747 on a 13.5 hour flight would range from approximately $76,788 to $82,134.

So assuming a full flight of 347 pax, with the 747 burning the most expensive jet fuel of $1.69/gallon, each passenger would need to fork over $236 to cover just the fuel costs.
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Old May 31, 05, 7:35 pm   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozstamps
I believe the fuel surcharge for tickets that start OZ-USA is higher from UA here ($A60 ow) than it is from United USA-OZ --- that never makes sense to me either.
Maybe fuel is more expensive to purchase in Australia?
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Old May 31, 05, 7:38 pm   #6
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Thanks BeCarlson. A couple of points. A loaded 747 is 347 pax not 300, and they very often run to and from here 100% full.

And gas is sold per ton AFAIK, and most burn rates relate to tons IIRC on long haul, so the burn in tons on a long flight might give us a more accurate figure than a gallons per second figure.

But even using these pretty rough figurings, - it comes out to what - about $US200 a pax on a full 747 for fuel and we now pay for QUARTER of it?

And Qantas is worse - they charge $A60 (the same ~$US47.35) fuel surcharge on EVERY It'l trip except HKG and NZ, and some of those are only 8 hours type flights. NZ flights which are only ~3 hours cop a $A40 fuel surcharge each way.

http://www.consolidatedtravel.com.au/qf/taxes.asp
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Old May 31, 05, 8:20 pm   #7
 
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Interesting stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ozstamps
But even using these pretty rough figurings, - it comes out to what - about $US200 a pax on a full 747 for fuel and we now pay for QUARTER of it?
Don't you think that the fare includes a good chunk of the fuel cost? After all, that's their second highest expense (or so I've heard).
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Old May 31, 05, 9:21 pm   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozstamps
...But even using these pretty rough figurings, - it comes out to what - about $US200 a pax on a full 747 for fuel and we now pay for QUARTER of it?
Um, fuel surcharge or no... rest assured you are paying for all of it.
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Old May 31, 05, 9:53 pm   #9
 
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Talking

Slightly off-topic, an old saying in the aerospace business is that the amount of energy to fly a 747 from the USA to Australia is the equivalent of putting it into orbit. Of course, one big difference is that the 747 burns its jet fuel with atmospheric oxygen, whereas to put it into orbit, it would have to carry its own oxygen, which would make it too heavy to get into orbit.

Oh well.
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Old May 31, 05, 10:03 pm   #10
 
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Per Boeing's website , max fuel capacity on the 747-400 is 57,585 US Gallons.

At $1.69/gal, that comes to $97,318; with 347 pax that's $280 a head for fuel, if the tanks are drained, which they obviously wouldn't be if the laws of common sense and aviation are followed.
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Old May 31, 05, 10:25 pm   #11
 
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Oz, I recall seeing the number of 19 km per liter per passenger for a 75% load 747. Boeing will proudly tell you that is twice as efficient as a solo passenger car.

Thus, "you" consume about 630 liters of jet fuel LAX-SYD. Thus, the surcharge is about 7.5 cents per liter or 28.5 cents per US gallon. Since fuel prices have increased from a budgeted ~$1.25 to above $1.50 per gallon then your fuel surcharge is spot on. Basically, if the spot price (assuming that's what UA pays) is above $1.50 then you are not overpaying. I read that many US airlines budgeted for $1.25 or around there based on 2004 averages.

If you want to look up the current sport price:

http://www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/petro...ce/prices.html

On the other hand, better run and non-bankrupt airlines like Southwest don't pay spot prices.

p.s. Holy smoke, the spot price hit $1.92 in LA. It also appears that there is a substantial premium in LA compared to other locales just like for gasoline. Tight refinery capacity in CA, I suppose.

Last edited by gnaget; May 31, 05 at 10:34 pm.
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Old May 31, 05, 10:42 pm   #12
 
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Holy smoke, in Feb 1999 jet fuel dropped below 30 cents a gallon and remember paying $1200 BOS-PIT back then in the good old days when US Airways was profitable.

I rented a house in Vermont that winter and remembered paying less than $1 a gallon for premium gasoline in NH. Regular was eighthy something cents.

So the spot peaks increased more than sixfold compared to the 1999 trough. of course the oil price peak to trough maxed out at a factor of five.
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Old Jun 2, 05, 4:43 am   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnaget

p.s. Holy smoke, the spot price hit $1.92 in LA. It also appears that there is a substantial premium in LA compared to other locales just like for gasoline. Tight refinery capacity in CA, I suppose.
Would prices in SFO be the same? I guess UA It'l get fuelled there mostly?
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Old Jun 2, 05, 5:43 am   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozstamps
Thanks BeCarlson
And gas is sold per ton AFAIK, and most burn rates relate to tons IIRC on long haul, so the burn in tons on a long flight might give us a more accurate figure than a gallons per second figure.
BeCarlson got close using the howitworks.com method. but it's true that fuel planning/fuel burn on jets are calculated using pounds/kilos - not gallons.

For a Boeing 744, a rough rule of thumb is 24,000 lbs/hour (this is not counting reserve/contingency fuel which is carried but not usually burnt)
13.5 * 24,000 = 324,000lbs
Going by 6.7 lbs of jet fuel to a gallon (which varies based on temperature)
= 48,360~ gallons fuel burn....

Have fun with the rest

Last edited by CTPremEx; Jun 2, 05 at 5:48 am.
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Old Jun 2, 05, 6:34 am   #15
 
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My first class award from LAX to New Zealand only cost $19 in taxes. I am glad they didn't have fuel charges on my award ticket.
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