Aggressive Initiatives Save Fuel at UPS Airlines

Aggressive Initiatives Save Fuel at UPS Airlines

Rising fuel prices have prompted UPS to accelerate a fuel conservation program that's now saving more than $1 million each month in fuel costs while reducing the airline's impact on the environment.

"Since we fly more than 265 heavy jet aircraft, environmental concerns have always been factored into the operation of UPS Airlines," said Capt. Tom Olson, UPS Flight Operations fuel manager. "But in today's world of rising prices, it's more critical than ever to operate efficiently. Our fuel conservation initiatives are innovative as well as environmentally friendly."

Olson's role is to constantly re-examine how the airline operates, looking for additional ways to reduce fuel consumption and manage purchases. As a result, UPS has implemented several new procedures,

  • Reducing the amount of extra fuel carried by aircraft
  • Using only one engine during taxiing
  • Having more UPS airplanes use electrical power from buildings and in-ground electrical hook-ups instead of the aircraft's auxiliary power unit, which is powered by fuel
  • Slowing down flights to the most fuel efficient speed possible if it doesn't change an arrival time critical to making service commitments

In addition to such efforts, UPS is testing some additional options, including:

  • Continuous descent approach, or CDA. Continuous descent approach is an alternative to the normal aviation practice of stepping down altitudes as you approach an airport for landing. Test programs are underway at airports in Louisville and Sacramento, Calif. With CDA, planes use idle power to glide down, which makes less noise, burns less fuel and creates fewer emissions. UPS expects to obtain operational approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to implement CDA for several flights into Louisville by the end of the year.

  • In coordination with the FAA, UPS is testing Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast (ADS-B) technology on 104 of UPS's 757 and 767 aircraft. Among other things, this technology allows UPS to proactively manage aircraft departure queues instead of relying solely on air traffic controllers, which in turn reduces fuel use and emissions. UPS has the world's only fleet equipped with this advanced technology.

"UPS customers benefit from our ability to carefully manage and conserve fuel throughout the business, particularly when prices are surging," said UPS airline and international operations vice president Bob Lekites. "We believe our customers recognize and appreciate UPS's commitment to efficient operations."