United Airlines saves 643,000 litres of fuel by using lighter paper on inflight magazine

What difference can 28 grams make on a plane?

If you are United Airlines, with 4500 flights a day, it can add up. The Chicago-based carrier said it recently began printing its inflight magazine, Hemisphere, on lighter paper, cutting 28 grams from each magazine. It now weighs 194 grams.

In an internal message to employees, United said it has also switched to lighter paper on its seatback service guides.

The carrier operates 744 mainline planes that vary in size, carrying 50 to 366 passengers each. For a typical 737 plane carrying 179 passengers, the reduction would mean about five kilograms per flight.

The airline said that slight weight reduction is saving 643,000 litres of fuel a year, or $US290,000 ($A357,000) in annual fuel costs.

Last year, United stopped on-board sales of duty-free items - such as perfumes, chocolates and liquor - cutting 5.2 million litres of fuel a year at a cost savings of $US2.3 million.

The airline began introducing more fuel efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliners to its fleet in 2014. The airline has ordered a total of 49 Dreamliners and has received 31 so far. 

The Dreamliner, the first commercial aircraft to be made from carbon fibre rather than aluminium, offers fuel savings of 20 per cent compared to previous aircraft, according to Boeing.

It has since introduced the aircraft to its Australian routes, flying Sydney to Los Angeles, Sydney to San Francisco and Melbourne to Los Angeles using Dreamliners. Earlier this month it began non-stop flights from Sydney to Houston, a 15 hour, 40 minute flight, which takes 17.5 hours on the return leg.

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The new 13,850km route is ranked the world's fourth longest scheduled commercial flight by distance.

Los Angeles Times/Traveller

See also: United's new Australia route is one of the world's longest flights

See also: Airline review: United Airlines Dreamliner 'Economy Plus' to San Francisco

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