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Wed, Nov 02, 2005

UPS Running On One Engine -- And That's A Good Thing

Aggressive Fuel-Saving Measures Reduce Costs Considerably

An aggressive fuel conversation program at UPS, ramped up due to ever-increasing fuel costs, is saving the worldwide cargo airline real money -- to the tune of $1 million saved in fuel costs each month.

Fuel-saving measures such as reducing the amount of fuel carried on the aircraft (not all flights need full tanks,) taxiing on one engine, and greater reliance on external power hookups are paying off for the carrier, that is also encouraging pilots to slow down to the most fuel-efficient speed possible as long as it doesn't significantly delay time-critical packages.

"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, to GreenBiz.com. "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 primary job is to reduce the carrier's fuel costs by constantly re-examining how the airline operates. One additional way the company is looking at to further reduce fuel consumption is the continuous descent approach, or CDA. Under the program -- currently being tested at airports in Louisville, KY and Sacramento, CA -- planes descend at idle to burn less fuel. Reduced noise and fewer particulate emissions are also benefits of the CDA approach, according to Olson.

The airline is seeking FAA approval to implement CDA into several flights by the end of the year.

UPS is also testing Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast (ADS-B) technology on 104 B757 and B767 aircraft. The system allows UPS to manage its own aircraft departures, instead of relying solely on ATC. By reducing the amount of time an aircraft waits in the queue or at the hold-short line, the company further saves on fuel. UPS has the only fleet equipped with ADS-B, said Olson.

"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."

FMI: www.ups.com

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