Fuel Efficiency at Qantas

Our target set in 2009 is to improve fuel efficiency by an average of 1.5% per year to 2020.

Jet fuel consumption represents our largest environmental impact. That is why we have a team of dedicated pilots, engineers and flight planners on our team of Fuel Optimisation experts working to reduce our fuel consumption and improve our operating efficiency.


In 2013/2014 the Qantas Group transported over 48 million passengers and thousands of tonnes of cargo across 395,000 sectors, using 4.6 billion litres of aviation fuel - that's around 12.5 million litres per day.

The amount of aviation fuel used by an aircraft is largely dependent on:

  • the aircraft type;
  • weight of the aircraft;
  • flying time;
  • weather and airport conditions; and
  • other operational and technical requirements.

We are optimising fuel consumption in the air and on the ground

The Qantas Group is continually reviewing our business and identifying opportunities to further improve our fuel efficiency outcomes, to deliver on our commitment and reduce environmental impacts.

Qantas Group Fuel Optimisation Program

In 2013/2014, our Group Fuel Optimisation Program reduced fuel consumption by approximately 38 million litres, resulting in a reduction of 96,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. We are committed to ensuring that these efficiencies are sustained and continually improved.

Our approach to continuous improvement in fuel efficiency is focused on a broad range of initiatives, including:

1. Weight reduction

The amount of fuel required on an aircraft is directly dependant on the weight of that aircraft. We are continually identifying opportunities to reduce the weight of the aircraft and some examples include:

  • Removing items off the aircraft whilst not impacting customer safety or convenience.
  • Investing in lighter equipment and material, for example lightweight galley equipment and baggage containers.
  • Tailoring the amounts of potable water we carry to service the lavatories or supply water to the galleys based on passenger needs and sector length.

2. Technology and infrastructure

More advanced technology on aircraft and improved infrastructure on the ground has allowed us to reduce the usage of the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), a small turbine engine located in the tail of the aircraft which runs on aviation fuel.

The APU is used on the ground when there are no alternative power sources available. Power is required for a number of pre-flight and post flight processes including supporting on-board electrics and maintaining a comfortable cabin temperature.

Whilst on the ground a ground power unit (GPU) provides an alternative way of providing the aircraft with electrical power. Preconditioned air (PCA) can be used as an alternative to the APU for maintaining the aircraft's cabin temperature. These units can be fixed (generally on the aerobridge) and powered by electricity or mobile units which use diesel. The use of these alternatives reduces our environmental footprint whilst meeting operational needs.

3. Airspace management

We are continually working in close collaboration with Airservices Australia and other air navigation service providers to help us optimise our fuel consumption in the sky. Some of the initiatives we are working together on are improvements to airspace efficiency and fuel efficient approach and landing procedures, such as Required Navigation Performance (RNP) or Smart Tracking. This will enable smoother descent profiles and a reduction in track miles (distance flown), in turn leading to a reduction in fuel burn and aircraft emissions.

4. Improving our operation

We're continually reviewing our operations to identify opportunities for further efficiencies, whilst always maintaining our commitment and excellence in safety, customer service and on time performance.

Our Fleet


As Australia's largest airline, we're investing in our fleet to ensure it remains one of the youngest and most advanced in the world.

Over the next 10 years, the Qantas Group has committed capital investment worth around US$17 billion* in more fuel efficient, next generation aircraft, such as the Airbus A380 and A320 neo, Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and Bombardier Dash 8-Q400.

We are reaching the end of a major fleet renewal program with the accelerated retirement of older Boeing 747 and 767 aircraft which will reduce the average age of our aircraft to 7.6 years, the youngest it has been in 20 years. This will result in our fleet being made up of predominantly new generation, fuel efficient aircraft.

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