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Operational Fuel Efficiency

The aviation industry has developed many operational measures to minimize fuel usage.  Operational improvements could provide a 6% overall fuel saving.

Efficiency Goal

Airlines have adopted a voluntary fuel efficiency goal.  This is to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions (per revenue tonne kilometer) by at least 25% by 2020, compared to 2005 levels.

Less Fuel = Less Emissions

Aircraft engine emissions are directly related to fuel burn. Each kilogram of fuel saved reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 3.16 kg.  So the key for airlines to minimize their environmental impact is to use fuel more efficiently.  IATA airlines improved their fuel efficiency by 3.1% in 2006 and 2007.

  • New aircraft are 70% more fuel efficient than 40 years ago and 20% better than 10 years ago.
  • Modern aircraft achieve fuel efficiencies of 3.5 litres per 100 passenger km. 
  • The A380 and B787 are aiming for 3 liters per 100 passenger km – better than a compact car!

IATA Fuel Action Campaign

IATA has launched a fuel action campaign and is working with industry partners to reduce fuel requirements and associated emissions. 

Measures for Improved Fuel Efficiency

IATA Green Teams work with airlines to evaulate fuel efficiency and emissions reductions initiatives.


Through gradually incorporating advanced technology into their fleets, airlines have made impressive fuel efficiency improvements. 


Together with a number of industry experts, IATA has developed the IATA Technology Roadmap which provides a summary and assessment of technological opportunities for future aircraft. The publication looks at technologies that will reduce, neutralize and eventually eliminate the carbon footprint of aviation. Some of these technologies could also be used for retrofits to the existing fleet.

Technology aircraft upgrades

Air Traffic Management

ATM enhancements could improve fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions by up to 12%. IATA therefore calls upon governments, airports and air navigation service providers to implement the necessary infrastructure improvements. 


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