Efficiency of commercial planes

From:         Andy Ruina <ruina@cornell.edu>
Date:         05 Oct 93 01:10:18 PDT
Organization: Cornell University
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How efficient are planes?

The number I would like to know is the total passenger miles
of the airline industry divided by the total number of gallons
of fuel used. That is, how many passenger miles per gallon to
planes actually get on average.

But other breakdowns would be interesting, say by length of
flight.  How good are the best planes running optimal distances
with full passenger load? etc.

Also, how small a fraction of the average fuel cost per passenger
is  the incremental fuel cost of adding a passenger?

I was told by a reasonably credible person that planes get
about 15 passenger miles per gallon (worldwide average) but
that Lufthansa gets about 25 passenger miles per gallon. I
find this interesting because it meanse that flying, on average,
is as fuel intensive as driving a fuel-hog car alone. But is this

Thanks for any info.

  -Andy Ruina, TAM, Cornell, Ithaca, NY 14850 607-255-7108