Re: Refueling frequency

From: (C. Marin Faure)
Organization: Northwest Nexus Inc.
Date:         10 Feb 96 12:30:57 
References:   1
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In article <airliners.1996.171@ohare.Chicago.COM>, (Jean-Francois Mezei) wrote:

> When operating a commuter style operation (many short hops in a day), how
> often is a plane refueled ?
> For instance, if you run a 737 size aircraft, will it be refueled at every
> station it lands, every second one ? (Assuming 1 hour hops).

>From my observations when I used to do television commercials for Hawaiian
and Aloha Airlines, the planes were refueled when they returned to
Honolulu International, but rarely on the other islands except at Hilo on
the Big Island, which was their longest run.

> Does refueling severely reduce plane turn around time or can it be safely
> done while other operations are going on (luggage loading/unloading,
> catering load/unload, passenger load/unload) ?

Refueling can be accomplished while other operations are going on.  I
believe, however, that refueling does not generally commence until the
passengers are off the plane.  Baggage, catering, and other operations
continue as the plane is being refueled.

> Does refueling cost more in manpower/service costs than carrying a full
> load of fuel that saves you a refueling at an intermediate stop ? (eg:
> Depart A with enough fuel for A->B and B->C, so you don't have to refuel
> at B, but must carry the B->C fuel on the A->B leg.)

Not working for an airline, I can only speculate that passenger loads have
some say over the fueling practices.  In general, an airplane only carries
enough fuel for a flight plus the required reserve.  Fuel doesn't pay to
ride, so the less non-revenue weight on the plane the better.  Because
fueling is so easy at most airports, I would suspect that the airlines
would rather cram as much revenue weight in the plane and have a guy dump
some fuel in it as it's turning around at each stop than have to leave
freight or mail on the ramp in order to carry enough fuel to avoid a

C. Marin Faure
author, Flying A Floatplane