Virgin Atlantic Airways is deploying a new fuel management tool which it says could help save as much as £20m and 92,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year in fuel efficiency savings.

The airline has signed a five-year contract with Rolls Royce subsidiary OSyS to implement its fuel management software to consolidate and analyse a wealth of data on Virgin Atlantic’s fuel usage.

With the price of fuel at consistently high levels, the system is expected to deliver significant cost benefits to the airline.

The Fuel Management Solution (FMS) system being rolled out by Virgin this week will also support the airline's Change Is In The Air sustainability programme.

The system will collect 300 items of data per flight to drive efficiencies, and will monitor areas like how arrival delays and holding patterns are affecting fuel usage, pilot techniques and fuel use on the ground.

Corneel Koster, director of operations, safety and security at Virgin Atlantic, said: “This really is a very exciting phase in our commitment to drive fuel efficiency and carbon reductions. We have had initiatives in place for many years which are generating significant benefits, however the OSyS tool will truly be a step change for us."

He said: “Our engineering colleagues now look forward to getting quantifiable reports on how maintenance drives fuel savings, and our pilots look forward to getting more fuel-related facts at their fingertips to drive their decision making.”

How Virgin Atlantic hopes to save:

  • Estimates it could save up to 1.4 tonnes of fuel per flight
  • Each tonne of fuel saved will save 3.15 tonnes of CO2
  • This equates to 4.41 tonnes CO2 saved per flight.
  • Multiplied by 21,000 flights a year means 92,610 tonnes of CO2 saved a year

Virgin Atlantic’s IT director David Bulman recently called upon the airline industry to work collaboratively on open source applications that create an emerging standard for re-use, and which allow passengers to avoid downloading multiple tools.