Back To The Future  

Posted by Big Gav in , ,

The Times has an interesting article noting one response airlines can make to rising oil prices - use propeller driven planes - Oil price surge propels planes back to basics

With oil prices hovering at close to $110 a barrel, many are betting that new technologies — biofuels, hydrogen cells and solar power among them — will solve the world's energy crisis. A large part of the airline industry, however, is looking back to basics: planes with propellers.

In the market for passenger planes with fewer than 70 seats, turboprop aircraft, once condemned for the relatively noisy and bumpy ride passengers endure, are now outselling the equivalent regional jets by two-to-one, according to industry estimates.

"Propeller-driven craft enjoy massive fuel benefits on shorter journeys," Kapil Kaul, the chief executive of the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, said.

For a journey of less than about 600 nautical miles, or about 90 minutes' flying time, a turboprob may use as much as 70 per cent less fuel than a similar-sized jet, he added.

Higher oil prices have driven aviation fuel prices up more than 60 per cent in the past year and mean that fuel costs now account for about a third of airline's running costs, compared to as little as 15 per cent before. The impact that the cost of crude is having on airline profits has helped to lift turboprop sales to about 400 last year, compared with about 250 jets in the same size bracket.

1 comments

Tony Kondaks   says 5:44 AM

As far as private jets go, I would expect the sale of turbo props to really start to outsell them. There is so much emphasis these days on preventing global warming that I would think that an alternative that offers up to 70% less fuel usage is something that publicity-conscious corporations would seriously consider.

Does anyone know of any data or study that directly compares fuel usage between turbo props and private jets in small and medium sized markets?

Tony Kondaks
tkondaks@cox.net

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