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BA Whistleblower Reveals Tankering of Fuel - BBC

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BA Whistleblower Reveals Tankering of Fuel - BBC

Old 11th Nov 2019, 02:08
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BA Whistleblower Reveals Tankering of Fuel - BBC

The latest environmental hit piece on the airlines.

Climate change: Airlines accused of 'putting profit before planet'

By Justin Rowlatt Chief environment correspondent
A British Airways whistleblower has revealed an industry-wide practice that deliberately adds weight to flights, increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

"Fuel tankering" sees planes filled with extra fuel, usually to avoid paying higher prices for refuelling at their destination airports.

It could mean extra annual emissions equivalent to that of a large town.

BA said it was common to carry extra fuel for "operational, safety and price reasons".

BBC Panorama has discovered the airline's planes generated an extra 18,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide last year through fuel tankering.

Cost savings made on a single flight can be as small as just over £10 - though savings can run to hundreds of pounds.


Researchers have estimated that one in five of all European flights involve some element of fuel tankering.

The practice on European routes could result in additional annual greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that produced by a town of 100,000 people.

Eurocontrol described the practice as "questionable" at a time when aviation is being challenged for its contribution to climate change.

But the BA whistleblower said: "I've been a BA employee for a long time.

"I'm very proud to be part of BA but in all honesty it makes me sad and disappointed."




https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-50365362
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Old 11th Nov 2019, 02:21
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Well done. Sick and tired of the virtue signaling by airlines about how much they care about the environment. Stand up for yourself and tell critics the truth; if we are gonna tackle emissions, then airlines are way down on the list of worst offenders. Hopefully the same happens to other businesses going on about how “green” they are.

Im all for conserving resources and reducing waste. We should all be doing our part, every little bit helps. But I’m not for the nauseating virtue signaling and disguising of cost cuts as if you are doing it for “the environment”.
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Old 11th Nov 2019, 02:24
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The practice on European routes could result in additional annual greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that produced by a town of 100,000 people.
Until proven, this is fake news.
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Old 11th Nov 2019, 02:25
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Tankering of fuel is smart and it results in less cost to the airlines / cheaper tickets for those who use the airlines.. Complains about use of petroleum products is less than smart unless you are prepared to give up all of your personal items that were or are derived from petroleum products.
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Old 11th Nov 2019, 02:29
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I'm very large on taking care of the environment but this seems like 'small potatoes' in the large scheme of things.
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Old 11th Nov 2019, 02:36
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Originally Posted by jack11111 View Post
I'm very large on taking care of the environment but this seems like 'small potatoes' in the large scheme of things.
Lots of people would probably think of me as an environmental extremist and I think this is so trivial as to be not worth noticing.
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Old 11th Nov 2019, 02:51
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Originally Posted by oceancrosser View Post


Until proven, this is fake news.
No, until proven, it's unconfirmed. It's fake if it's not true. Tankering of fuel is most DEFINATLEY real- BA admit it. The extent of the extra emissions is pretty much simple math.
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Old 11th Nov 2019, 03:16
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The only beneficiary of fuel tankering is the airline. It doesn't lead to cheaper fares.
A reduction in costs, does not lead to a reduction of fares- rather it leads to an increase in profit.
Having said that, this Is pretty 'small beer', in the overall scheme of things.
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Old 11th Nov 2019, 03:54
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The only beneficiary of fuel tankering is the airline. It doesn't lead to cheaper fares. A reduction in costs, does not lead to a reduction of fares- rather it leads to an increase in profit. Having said that, this Is pretty 'small beer', in the overall scheme of things.
By tankering it introduces competition to your fuel supply and ultimately price. If you categorically did not tanker your fuel supply would become a nice little monopoly market at your point of departure.
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Old 11th Nov 2019, 05:32
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Surely the answer is for the EU to do something sensible for once and enforce price caps for fuel at the more expensive destinations. Those reduced profits would be mitigated through increased sales volume, albeit at a slightly reduced margin. A lower margin sale is better than no sale at all.
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Old 11th Nov 2019, 05:49
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We should also require airlines to only operate the most fuel efficient aircraft that the industry has to offer. After all we only use less fuel efficient aircraft due to Cost.
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Old 11th Nov 2019, 06:03
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Not defending the airlines for a minute, but this kind of thinking can lead to calculations as to how many towns' and cities' worth of pollution would be saved if everyone drove their car with half or even a third of a tank of gasoline/petrol.
E.g. Should the good *EC citizen(ess) really be thinking, "Fill 'er up at the local garage, coz it's cheaper than on the motorway!" or "Not sure when I'll find another Tesco 100 RON, or Shell V-Power station, so better fill it to the brim now." ???

*EC environmentally conscious
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Old 11th Nov 2019, 06:33
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Uhh...I’m guilty. I admit I commit the crime of tankering all the time when I fill up my car. Saves me about €7 per tank, but it requires me to make a small detour. I have an app which shows gas prices in real time at all gas stations, so I check and choose where to fill up. So while detouring I am killing the planet. And also when I have a 777 tankered professionally.
I feel sooo bad and ashamed, I almost have to cry. (sob sob)

Last edited by fox niner; 11th Nov 2019 at 07:30.
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Old 11th Nov 2019, 07:08
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Limiting the speed of ships also seems to be fashionable topic to reduce fuel consumption: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-50348321
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Old 11th Nov 2019, 07:32
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Occurs to me that fuel may be more expensive in out of the way destinations that may not shift large volumes. The environmental cost of getting the fuel there probably in road tankers, may not be insignificant. Flying it there may not be inefficient.
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Old 11th Nov 2019, 07:32
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Most mornings over Heathrow there is a queue of aircraft holding as they wait for the 0600 curfew to end. At times this builds from around 0545 and often involves 12 or so aircraft. I did it myself for a couple of decades so tried to calculate my "extra" carbon emisions based on average air holding times - I ran out of zeros on my calculator.

This holding is far more damaging than tankering and I did try to avoid it by slowing down en-route but arriving at the back of that queue still brought the dreaded " take up the hold at Lambourne - maintain FL 160 - at least 20 mins delay"..........
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Old 11th Nov 2019, 07:39
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Originally Posted by oceancrosser View Post
Until proven, this is fake news.
The stats come from Eurocontrol, that well-known collection of fake news purveyors. They even provide a simple diagram to help those who can't get their head around the issue:


EUROCONTROL - Fuel Tankering Economic Benefits and Environmental Impact
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Old 11th Nov 2019, 07:39
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The problems that the rock face are somewhat more significant than whether you tanker to achieve an arbitrage. Lighting uses around 7 times more energy than all of the global air traffic at present.

A quick look at the international energy outlook, IEO is interesting reading, and would suggest that the effect of tankering is hardly the problem that exists, it is a minor bump in the underlying data, approaching trivia.


https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/ieo/

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Old 11th Nov 2019, 07:51
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I think those who dismiss the environmental effects of tankering outright are a bit short-sighted. I am a bit tired of the standard response "this is such a small issue. It makes very little difference in the grand scheme of things". Maybe true. But all the little areas where we waste resources combined do make a big difference. It's like every industry saying: "We only contribute x% to worldwide carbon emissions. Again, true, but if every single one of those industries cut their emissions by say 25% then the effect would be massive. And yes, Human consumption, animals etc emit a lot of carbon. But that should be no reason to not minimize emissions/use of finite resources were we can.

As an industry we have lot's of room for improvement without having to ban flying or making it prohibitively expensive. If, with the help of governments, we could fly optimum levels and direct routes more often, spend less time in holding and in queues for departure, and yes, perhaps had to tanker fuel less frequently, that would all help. Now, I'm sot suggesting airlines should be forced to buy expensive fuel instead of tankering, but if governments are serious about cutting emissions then maybe it should be illegal to sell fuel at such prices that economic tankering makes sense for the airline. Just a thought.
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Old 11th Nov 2019, 08:02
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
The stats come from Eurocontrol, that well-known collection of fake news purveyors. They even provide a simple diagram to help those who can't get their head around the issue:


EUROCONTROL - Fuel Tankering Economic Benefits and Environmental Impact

Yup,

Tankering gets done in one direction normally, there is an economic benefit that outweighs the additional cost of carriage. The effect of weight is indicated in the Breguet range formula, but in general, adding extra fuel over long ranges will cost considerably in the amount of fuel that remains from that on arrival. Somewhere around ~ 4% of the excess fuel will be burnt per hour of flight. EU land tracks the data of flights into and out of their space, it helps keep the grins on la Vache qui rit. So the data exists to make some assumptions, if one bothers getting the data. Only part of the routes that exist justify any tankering due to differentials on fuel costs justifying the wear/tear and extra fuel burns, and that is logically only in one direction on each of those routes. For long haul, say 12 hour or longer flights, extra fuel is a double edged sword, the burn itself takes out some 40%+ of the economic benefit, and may alter the ability to achieve any reasonable cruise altitude, which has a potential to adversely affect the total fuel burn for the whole flight, once stuck down, it can be a PITA to get back up again on many routes.

We operate efficiently over the course of the flight, to arrive and get slotted into a holding patten as after 12 to 16 hours of suggestion that we are comin', we still snarl up with the flights that took off 45 minutes before... long haul tend to be heavier than the short haul as the way of things, and we get to spend time in the stack. Before that, we also have the pleasure of waiting for coordination, and then pushing back, starting donks, and finding out we are #26 in the queue. If that doesn't give enough annoyance, we also get the vertical path for coordination that drops the aircraft out of optimal path some 250nm from destination, and we get to fumigate the mid atmosphere with soot and CO2 while wasting time and obviously the fuel to turn to noise, soot, and CO2. My favourite arrival has a mandatory crossing height 90nm from destination at 9,000'.

Worrying about fuel burn from tankering is low down on the efficiency issues totem we have in the industry.

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