Magazine article Risk Management

Heavier Than Air

Magazine article Risk Management

Heavier Than Air

Article excerpt

Add airlines to the growing list of those affected by the increased prevalence of obesity in the United States. A recent report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine points out that jet fuel costs have risen in tandem with American weight gain. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during the 1990s, the average weight of Americans went up 10 pounds. As a result, when heavier people become airline passengers they increase a plane's load, requiring more fuel to be expended to lift the plane off the ground. In 2000, this meant that an extra 350 million gallons (or 2% of the total volume of fuel used that year) was needed at a cost of 79 cents per gallon for a total of $275 million. This cost has surely increased today,, since jet fuel is now twice as expensive as it was then.

On top of that, this trend's environmental impact is a concern since the burning of extra fuel adds pollutants to the air, including an estimated 3.8 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions and lesser amounts of nitric oxide and carbon monoxide.

Weight has long been a concern of airlines. Many' airlines have replaced metal forks and spoons with plastic and have clone away with bulky magazines to reduce the load and the resulting fuel costs. …

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