Many airlines use gender-based estimates to guess how much fuel is needed for each flight, but under a new system every passenger would be weighed before boarding.
Many airlines use gender-based estimates to guess how much fuel is needed for each flight, but under a new system every passenger would be weighed before boarding.

Passengers could be weighed at check-in

Air passengers could be weighed before they board flights as a sneaky way to cut fuel costs and emissions.

Discreet "pressure pads" could be used as passengers pass through the airport - with data then used to determine how much fuel is needed per flight.

Talks are underway between British-based firm Fuel Matrix and several long-haul airlines in the UK over implementing the system.

Weighing could take place as passengers check in or leave their luggage at self-service bag drops.

Or it could happen as they pass through security scanners, according to proposals under discussion.

Fuel needs for planes can vary considerably depending on the total weight being carried.

The heavier the load, the more fuel is needed and the higher the carbon emissions.

Currently, airlines estimate using an inexact science based on the gender ratio of the passengers on board.

Passengers could be weighed before flights so that airlines know how much fuel to use.
Passengers could be weighed before flights so that airlines know how much fuel to use.

Many allow 88kg for men, 70kg for women and 35kg for children.

But this method means airlines often use more fuel than they need to, Fuel Matrix says.

Chief operating officer Nick Brasier told the Independent as much as 1 per cent more fuel is added for most flights than is needed.

Planes then burn between 0.3 and 0.5 per cent more fuel due to the extra weight.

With exact weights, total savings on fuel could be as much as £750 million ($A1.37 billion) worldwide, the company claimed.

Explaining his concept, Mr Brasier said: "We're not suggesting people should stand on the scales, but airports could fit 'pressure pads' in the bag-drop area in front of each screen.

"After the bag has been checked in, the system can ask, 'Are you standing on the pressure pad?'

Passengers could be weighed at check-in or self-service baggage drops under proposals being considered by airlines.
Passengers could be weighed at check-in or self-service baggage drops under proposals being considered by airlines.

"If the passenger taps 'Yes', then the weight can be recorded and passed confidentially to the airline."

Uzbekistan Airways announced in 2015 it would weigh passengers and exclude some overweight people from busy flights or smaller planes if a weight limit was exceeded.

And in 2017, Finnair launched a similar but voluntary scheme to help determine the fuel needs for flights.

A spokesman told The Sun Online Travel: "We want to ensure we have the best possible data in use in aircraft performance and loading calculations."

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission



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