Simple steps like changing the paper stock on inflight magazines and slimming down beverage carts have cut weight on United Airlines jets and saved the airline millions of dollars in fuel costs, CBS News reports.
A modern jet aircraft can weigh in excess of a quarter-million pounds, but even small reductions in weight can create big savings. United estimates, for example, that using lighter paper reduced the weight of each copy of the Hemispheres inflight magazine by one ounce, saving $300,000 annually.
Other weight-saving changes included installing lighter seats without heavy video screens, redesigning restrooms, changing the type of food served onboard, stopping in-flight duty-free sales, and using lighter cargo containers.
“Anytime we can reduce even an ounce of weight, that means we burn less fuel to fly to that destination,” said Aaron Stash, United’s head of environmental strategy and sustainability.
“Even an ounce, because if you are multiplying that across the thousands of seats and the thousands of flights we have, that ounce adds up and multiplies very quickly.”
Southwest Airlines also has reduced weight by changing from glass bottles to cans in its food service and giving pilots tablet computers to replace paper manuals.