Next month, thousands of Air New Zealand travelers will be required to weigh themselves before boarding.
The airline claims that while using the scales can be “daunting,” there are crucial safety benefits to doing so.
It’s important to note right away that participating in the passenger weight survey is absolutely optional because getting through an airport may be stressful enough, especially for people who overpack.
However, there are important justifications for the program, which is mandated by the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand.
“We know stepping on the scales can be daunting. We want to reassure our customers [that] there is no visible display anywhere. No one can see your weight – not even us. It’s completely anonymous.”Alastair James, Air New Zealand’s load control improvement specialist
“It’s simple, it’s voluntary, and by weighing in, you’ll be helping us to fly you safely and efficiently, every time.”
From early June through early July, travelers departing from Auckland International Airport will be encouraged to check their hand bags at the scales outside the gate lounge of some aircraft.
Why is weight information on passengers necessary for airlines?
The survey, according to Air New Zealand, will support “the safe and effective operation of the aircraft.”
It’s crucial for pilots to be aware of the weight and balance of the laden aircraft in order for planes to perform their defying of gravity work.
“We weigh everything that goes on the aircraft, including the cargo, meals served on board, and checked baggage. We use average weights, which we obtain by conducting this study, for customers, crew, and cabin luggage, says James.
Airlines currently estimate the overall weight of the passengers using “assumed mass” and predetermined numbers.
However, it is useful to periodically assess the health of the passengers to see whether our average weight has altered. Domestic New Zealand flyers were weighed in 2021, but post-pandemic international travelers have not yet gone onto the scales.
To be safe, airlines typically overestimate the entire weight of their aircraft.
Typically, it is considered that each passenger weighs 88 kg, or 93 kg for men and 75 kg for women.
However, a pilot can load less fuel if they are aware that the aircraft is carrying less weight than the projected mass.
According to Nick Brasier, chief operating officer of British software startup Fuel Matrix, airplanes now load roughly 1% more fuel than they require, according to UK newspaper the Independent. As a result, they use up to 0.5% more gasoline to transport the extra.
Even while it might seem insignificant, when added up, the fuel savings are substantial. The possible save is up to €930 million, given that fuel costs for aircraft are anticipated to be €186 billion annually.
This results in significant carbon reductions as well. A typical Boeing 747-400 jumbo aircraft can burn through 240,000 liters of jet fuel per flight, or approximately a tenth of an Olympic-sized swimming pool, at a rate of four liters per second.
According to an estimation based on information from the German NGO Atmosfair, a flight from Auckland to Los Angeles and back produces more than 2,000 kg of CO2 emissions per passenger in a 24-hour round journey.
According to Brasier, including passenger weight in an aircraft’s analytics could also aid with seating arrangements.
Except for smaller jets when fine-tuning is critical, airlines very rarely weigh passengers before a trip at the moment.
But the strategy adopted by Air New Zealand has a history. For instance, as part of a comparable voluntary poll at Helsinki Airport in 2017, Finnair passengers were requested to walk onto weighing scales.