American Airlines Gets Creative to Save Fuel

By Brian Curtis
|  Monday, Mar 14, 2011  |  Updated 11:11 PM CDT
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As fuel prices spike, <a title=American Airlines is finding creative ways to save fuel and money." />

Brian Curtis, NBCDFW.com

As fuel prices spike, American Airlines is finding creative ways to save fuel and money.

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As the price of jet fuel soars, American Airlines is finding new ways to save fuel and money.

The price of jet fuel is more than 50 percent higher than at this time last year.

"Absolutely, there's more to be done. We're looking at it all the time," Capt. Bill Keating said.

Airlines have had to pass much of the increased fuel cost along to travelers in the form of higher ticket prices.  

Here are some of the things Fort Worth-based American is doing to control how much money it spends on fuel:

  • Replacing all 19,000 drink carts. Each cart is 12 pounds lighter than the old model.
  • Testing a new coating on the outside of aircraft that improves airflow.
  • Buying more tugs that tow planes from terminals to hangars, reducing the use of jet engines.
  • Removing seat back phones and their heavy wiring.
  • Installing lighter seats, bins and TV monitors in cabins.

"Even small measures add up," Keating said.

The changes are part of American's ongoing Fuel Smart program.

This year alone, American expects its efforts to conserve fuel will save the airline more than $370 million.

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