Speed of flight

What if somebody came up with a way to save airlines up to 200 pounds of jet fuel each flight and more than 40,000 minutes of flight time on a fleet-wide basis per year?

You’d think that would represent a substantial savings for the environment as well as for an airline’s bottom line!

Well, somebody did come up with a way to do this. It’s called Boeing Inflight Optimization. In the latest issue of Boeing AERO magazine - now online - we’ve posted a great article detailing just how this works.


Click on the image to go directly to the latest edition of AERO.

Two products - Direct Routes and Wind Updates - are part of a suite of tools developed by Boeing Flight Services - designed to help airlines really increase their fuel and flight efficiency. Direct Routes service is currently available in the continental U.S. Wind Updates is being implemented worldwide.

Fuel is a huge piece of an airline’s operating cost - in fact it can be up to 30% of the annual operating budget. We’ve calculated that airlines can use something like 10% more fuel than is necessary because of inefficiencies in the system.

As you’ll see in the article, shaving even small slices of fuel usage (and flight time) on each and every flight can add up to pretty big fleet-wide savings.


Boeing’s Direct Routes product optimizes flights by providing reroute opportunities with at least one minute of time savings.

Boeing has captured the technology to provide real-time “actionable” advisories based on air traffic, the airplane’s flight path, weather and other factors - specific to individual airlines for both Boeing and non-Boeing fleets.

I won’t go into all the details - you can check it out in the article - but it works by monitoring each flight’s progress and continuously looking for opportunities for efficiency.

What’s great about these products is, for our customers who operate up-to-date airplanes, there’s no new equipment needed and no new training or regulatory changes. It works within current air traffic and airline operating procedures.

The idea is, with this up-to-the-second data, airline ops and flight crews can immediately identify more direct routing to their destinations and make adjustments to weather conditions, saving time and fuel.

That’s what you might call optimization at the speed of flight - and we think this is a very exciting business to be in.

Comments (3)

Barun Majumdar (Seattle, WA, USA):

Multidisciplinary optimization is another next-gen powerful tool that can be used to optimize parameters of aerodynamics, design and structural engineering, flutter and noise engineering, and environmental portfolios as well. Needless to say, speed of light is a real-time, in-flight optimization tool to help achieve substantial fuel economy and hence, reducing harmful greenhouse gas emission that affects the stratosphere, in particular. I believe that a modicum of change in enthalpy between the stratosphere and the toposphere affects the weather pattern giving rise to an exponential increase in tornados in recent days.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

It is especially important concerning high fuel prices that programs like the Boeing Inflight Optimization are used so fuel usage can be better optimized. The new technologies in not just route planing but wind calculations make the program useful in reducing carbon emissions and fuel consumption, time in the air and help reduce the cost of a ticket for the consumers. The inflight optimization is a system that would benefit the airline, the environment and the consuming passenger.

tony (Raleigh,nc):

Fuel optimization starts with good mission planing,what thrust setting and the design of the engine .Also dont forget about the winds in order to redude the drag during flight.

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