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-   -   BA Whistleblower Reveals Tankering of Fuel - BBC (https://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/627119-ba-whistleblower-reveals-tankering-fuel-bbc.html)

Airbubba 11th Nov 2019 02:08

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

Sqwak7700 11th Nov 2019 02:21

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”.

oceancrosser 11th Nov 2019 02:24


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.

Longtimer 11th Nov 2019 02:25

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.

jack11111 11th Nov 2019 02:29

I'm very large on taking care of the environment but this seems like 'small potatoes' in the large scheme of things.

OldnGrounded 11th Nov 2019 02:36


Originally Posted by jack11111 (Post 10615802)
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.

Wizofoz 11th Nov 2019 02:51


Originally Posted by oceancrosser (Post 10615800)


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.

Nomad2 11th Nov 2019 03:16

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.

neville_nobody 11th Nov 2019 03:54


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.

B Fraser 11th Nov 2019 05:32

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.

InSoMnIaC 11th Nov 2019 05:49

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.

jolihokistix 11th Nov 2019 06:03

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

fox niner 11th Nov 2019 06:33

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)

GordonR_Cape 11th Nov 2019 07:08

Limiting the speed of ships also seems to be fashionable topic to reduce fuel consumption: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-50348321

Andrewgr2 11th Nov 2019 07:32

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.

ETOPS 11th Nov 2019 07:32

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"..........

DaveReidUK 11th Nov 2019 07:39


Originally Posted by oceancrosser (Post 10615800)
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:

https://cimg0.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune....2962facdb1.jpg
EUROCONTROL - Fuel Tankering Economic Benefits and Environmental Impact

fdr 11th Nov 2019 07:39

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/

https://cimg3.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune....cd9cf601c9.png

733driver 11th Nov 2019 07:51

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.

fdr 11th Nov 2019 08:02


Originally Posted by DaveReidUK (Post 10615902)
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:

https://cimg0.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune....2962facdb1.jpg
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.


Dannyboy39 11th Nov 2019 08:04


Originally Posted by ETOPS (Post 10615898)
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"..........

Nail on head sir. And the way around this - have a third and fourth runway at LHR. Often the MAN-LHR flt time is doubled due to Monday morning holding. Very frustrating.

EastofKoksy 11th Nov 2019 08:20

Hands up all those working at the BBC and everywhere else that drive an extra mile or two to find cheaper fuel then fill up their tanks to the brim. This practice must also use fuel to carry fuel. The Panorama programme will probably be just be another virtue signalling fest from the BBC against the great satan of flying.

KelvinD 11th Nov 2019 08:43

From an economic point of view, I wonder how economic tankering really is over the long term. I was thinking that if you arrive at destination with sufficient fuel for the return trip, plus reserve, the aircraft will be heavier when landing than it normally would be. Certainly, the weight will be within limits but surely repeated heavier than necessary landings over many cycles breaks "pickle forks"?

Airstripflyer 11th Nov 2019 08:46

Tankering is normally done because the extra cost of carrying the additional weight of fuel is less than the cost of buying the fuel at destination. But often the fuel price is high at the destination because of the difficulty of getting the fuel there. The logistics of supplying fuel to a small island in the middle of the ocean add considerably to the cost - and the fuel efficiency of the supply ships will not be good. So overall it probably burns less fuel to tanker.

ShyTorque 11th Nov 2019 08:50

It will make a difference when we all stop flying.

InSoMnIaC 11th Nov 2019 08:50

I don’t see where in the EuroControl’s very scientific Diagram it shows the fuel Burnt to transport the non tankered fuel to airports with expensive fuel

Mgggpilot 11th Nov 2019 09:07

So tankering my A330 to land at destination with 1 tonne less MLW and not tankering (min flight plan fuel) same sector coz my flight was full (with pax) again landing at the destination with 1 tonne less MLW.
considering two cases above, isnt carbon emission the same? So what's the fuss now? Should we offload pax (if flights are full) so we fly lighter to be praised by "environmentalists"?
What am I missing here?

Luke SkyToddler 11th Nov 2019 09:16

Airstripflyer makes the relevant point

If you tanker fuel to a place like the Seychelles or Kathmandu because it's expensive, that fuel has ALREADY been tankered there in trucks and boats. Which are less efficient than planes in the first place.

If you tanker fuel from a place like Jeddah because it's cheaper than LHR - well guess where the fuel in the pumps in LHR came from?

Bergerie1 11th Nov 2019 09:36

fdr,

I agree. Tankering is only a very small part of the issue. If European governments were really interested in reducing emissions from aviation, they would redesign the whole European ATM system to ensure better routes and flight profiles. This would be a double whammy - more efficient flights, less emissions and shorter flight times.

AviatorDave 11th Nov 2019 09:37


Originally Posted by ShyTorque (Post 10615952)
It will make a difference when we all stop flying.

Which seems to be the ultimate goal. It is interesting that it is aviation with its small to moderate overall impact that gets the most flogging and is kind of treated as the worst offender.
Socialist agendas don't like the average Joe to be mobile and freely travel around through the world. Could get Joe the wrong ideas ...

jolihokistix 11th Nov 2019 09:41

In light of Dave Reid's graphs I would like to modify my earlier car analogy.
Racing a car at the track up in the hills, I used to carry 40 litres of extra fuel in metal cans in the back, because the pump fuel prices at the circuit were exorbitant. The fuel I was carrying was cold and fresh, from a place where fuel was sold in large quantity and in presumably guaranteed quality. The fuel up at the track was expensive, thus not popular, thus not much used, thus of dubious quality, was the general feeling.

Reaches for hat and coat...

PiggyBack 11th Nov 2019 09:51

You have to love journalists. The BBC reveal a whistleblowers revelation that airlines take common sense actions to mitigate high fuel costs in some locations by doing what everyone with a car does hen they fill up at a petrol station with low prices. They perform a calculation which exagerates the effect by ignoring the environmental costs of getting the fuel to those high cost locations and even so end up with a figure for the extra carbon emitted which I calculate as 1.8e4/9.18e8 or 0.002% of the emissions of the airline industry. This really is negligible and without any detailled knowledge or calculations probably at least two probably three orders of magnitude smaller than what could be saved simply by seeking to improve general efficiencies.

This story is senstionalist nonsense built on a tiny kernel of truth especialy the concept of there needing to be a 'whistleblower' to reveal the situation.

dixi188 11th Nov 2019 09:52

I imagine it is the LOCOs that do the most tankering as they do mostly short haul flights and lots of them.

stormin norman 11th Nov 2019 10:03

BA is very good at cutting carbon emissions, makes profit ,pays its staff a salary and provides a service taking millions of people on holidays and business trips a year.

The BBC puts on sports personality of the year. Ensuring thousands of people travel thousands of miles by road, rail and air to watch an event in a stadia that could be done by 5 people in studio in Manchester.




Fire and brimstone 11th Nov 2019 10:04

If we are talking about economy and emissions, what proportion of pilots stick to the mandated ECON cost index .................... ??

Only a modicum of discipline required.

P.S. As for the brave whistleblower: the management will move heaven and earth to get to him / her. The CAA have a whistleblowing facility - I wonder why they did not go straight to the regulator ...............

esscee 11th Nov 2019 10:06

Almost a bit of a "non-thread", as explained very well by others. Definitely not "whistleblowing", more like common sense. Fuel has to get to some of these remote locations somehow THAT is why it is more expensive there!

Skyjob 11th Nov 2019 10:11

Perspective...
Economically tankering saves money if flying same route on same day compared to non-tankering flight.
Environmentally missions are re reduced as shortcuts are given, no holding delays are expected and less weight is carried.

When compared, on an average EU flight distance of 600nm (according to Eurocontrol document):
Economically: tankering saves 167 liters ~ £92

The economic impact above is equivalent to 4 minutes delay, eg once around the holding pattern, being second for approach on arrival at destination, speeding up and/or 20 extra track miles delaying please.

flyer4life 11th Nov 2019 10:33


Originally Posted by Fire and brimstone (Post 10616008)
If we are talking about economy and emissions, what proportion of pilots stick to the mandated ECON cost index .................... ??

The policy at Air France (shorthaul at least) is to fly maximum speed for minimum flight times. You can often hear them in French asking ATC to order the aircraft ahead of them to speed up. That’s an entire airline with no interest in flying fuel efficient speeds.

old,not bold 11th Nov 2019 11:06

BA, whose flight plans I/we used to prepare as their anointed handlers in the Gulf in the early 1970s, routinely tankered fuel around to save costs, and presumably have done before and since that period. So it's hardly fresh news.

Whoever said that a ban on tankering would simply encourage suppliers at airports with only 1 supplier (ie the majority) to increase prices hit the nail on the head. At the moment suppliers monitor prices at other airports very closely to remain competitive in carriers' price indices. I don't know how it works with global supply contracts, these days.

Mind you, enforcing such a 'ban' would be challenging. Who, exactly, would enforce it, and how?

What really gets me worked up is going round and round a holding point waiting for a LHR approach clearance. (And elsewhere, of course; I only use LHR at the moment.) With modern IT capabilities IT CANNOT BE BEYOND THE WIT OF MAN to manage air traffic on route and at airports so that this huge contributor to emissions no longer happens. I know ALL the reasons why it "just can't be done, old chap, do keep up, far too many variables", and I also know that with political, financial and operational determination they can be overcome.

I often have to go to Cologne from LHR. A 5 - 20 minute hold on the evening (peak time) return sector seems to be pretty much standard. WHY, for God's sake? Mainly because everyone just accepts the insanity as normal, unavoidable even, shrugs their shoulders and carries on.

InSoMnIaC 11th Nov 2019 11:07

One way to put an end to this greedy practice of tankering fuel (which if not done has to arrive at the destination by some other means) is to base airways charges on Actual TOW iso Max TOW. This will allow the airline to save money by only paying based on how much is being carried and save the environment. Oh wait. That won’t work because it doesn’t unfairly disadvantage airlines.


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