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British Airways Planes May Stop Carrying Extra Fuel

British Airways Planes May Stop Carrying Extra Fuel
Jackie Reddy

An investigation by the BBCs Panorama program into “fuel tankering”–a practice whereby planes are deliberately filled with extra fuel in order to dodge high refueling costs at their destinations–has seen International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent company of British Airways (BA), undertake a review of the airline’s procedures. The outlet reports that, though this industry-wide practice can save money, fuel tankering also increases the emission of harmful greenhouse gases.

As part of its research, the outlet discovered that, because of this practice BA craft, “…generated an extra 18,000 tons of carbon dioxide last year through fuel tankering.” The outlet further reports, “The industry-wide practice could mean extra annual emissions equivalent to those of a large European town.”

While BA has conceded that the practice “may be the wrong thing to do”, it clarified that it also deployed fuel tankering as part of its operational and safety procedures. It also said that fuel tankering is deployed primarily on short-haul European routes.

As part of its investigation into the airline’s practice of fuel tankering, the outlet reports that it, “…has seen dozens of internal BA documents that show up to six tons of extra fuel have been loaded onto planes in this way.”

In terms of cost savings, the outlet reports that though the practice, on a per flight basis, may in some cases only work out to a bit more than £10 ($12.8), savings can be considerably higher.

Citing information provided by insiders at the airline, it is reported that BA uses computer software that calculates whether the airline will save money by using the fuel tankering tactic.

Amid these revelations, BA says that it is committed to both mitigating climate change and reducing its own environmental impact.

Speaking out to investors on Friday, IAG CEO Willie Walsh said that it was important to not incentivize “the wrong behavior” from management staff.

“Because clearly the financial saving would have incentivized us to do fuel tankering. But maybe… this the wrong thing to do and the wrong thing to incentive. So we want to make sure we have our incentives aligned to the right activities so ensure financial sustainability but also environmental sustainability,” he added.

The findings by BBCs Panorama program will air on Monday.

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View Comments (2)

2 Comments

  1. bagwell

    November 15, 2019 at 6:45 am

    click bait title – should be titled, ‘British Airways Planes May Stop Fuel Tankering’. Title makes it sound like it may be a safety issue by not carrying extra fuel which is NOT the case.

  2. Sydneyberlin

    November 21, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    Agree with Bagwell- very misleading title!

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