It’s a slow news time of the year. For those of you still at a desk looking for something aviation-related and distracting from what you’d rather be doing, let’s have some data fun.

The chart below lists the fuel burn for single-aisle aircraft used by US airlines in passenger service.  We only select the top ten airlines for this table. Red is poor and green is good.  By including seat counts we are able to equalize fuel burn.  Since airlines toy with LOPA this becomes something of a variable – looking at American and their 737-800s specifically.

There’s some good stuff here.

  • Notice that, generally, as aircraft age, fuel burn declines. (There are exceptions of course)
  • It is probably best to ignore the MAX numbers for now as that fleet needs time to settle. But the data suggests the MAX fuel burn is highly competitive with the neo.
  • The A321neo has a remarkable per-seat fuel burn. For 2021, it is nearly 65% better than the 757-200. An eye-popping number.
  • The 717 is clearly aging fast and we see the A220-100 in 2021 is close to 50% more fuel-efficient.
  • Looking at NG to MAX we see an improvement of about 14% on the MAX9 over the 900ER.
  • For the ceo vs neo, we see about 27% improvement on the A320, and 53% improvement on the A321.  The improvements underscore what happens when seats are added to the newer models. The A320 used to seat 150 and now seats 160 or more.
  • The A220-300 has a 36% better fuel burn than the A319ceo.  Airbus made a superb decision buying the C Series.
  • A data point of interest – the typical regional jet among US airlines in 2021 averages 45.9 seat miles/gallon.  This helps explain why regional jets are an area of concern. Scope clause is holding back progress.  But with Delta deploying the A220-100 with nearly 60% better fuel burn, and Breeze deploying low-cost E-Jets and A220s, in regional markets, market forces may force a change.
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