Aviation Blog Series:

By John Dillon, Director of Operations, Ctrack by Inseego

Jet fuel prices have climbed nearly 56% from second quarter a year ago. Delta Airlines, the nation’s number two carrier (behind American Airlines), responded by raising ticket prices. American had already responded to higher fuel prices with higher ticket prices.

There are many factors influencing airline profits that are out of the airline’s control, such as the global economy, uncertainties over steel trade tariffs such as what President Trump is implementing now, and rising minimum wages. In March, the board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey approved increasing the minimum wage for workers at Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark airports to $19 per hour by 2023. After the increase, these airports will be paying the highest minimum wage to airport workers in the country—currently, the minimum wage at Kennedy and LaGuardia is $13 per hour, the same rate that applies to all New York workers, so this would represent a steep increase in operating costs. Los Angeles Airport workers are next in line to receive a pay increase—$17 per hour by July 2021. Fuel prices are just one item on a lengthy list of expenses airlines must absorb, but it’s one that airlines can actually manage more effectively.

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker confirmed that oil is the airline’s second largest expense. With fuel prices being up to a quarter of an airline’s operating costs, tools that help airlines manage their fuel consumption—both for the planes in the air and the numerous vehicles on the ground—just makes sense.

Rather than allowing fuel consumption to go untracked and unmanaged, a tool like Inseego’s Ctrack fleet management tool for airlines provides visibility into how the vehicle fleet is using fuel in macro and micro ways, such as fuel usage overall and an individual operator’s driving behavior.

A driver who consistently speeds, accelerates suddenly, or runs out of fuel impacts fuel usage. Ctrack uses GPS tracking to convey location, speed, braking, acceleration, and cornering, and on any and all fleet vehicles.

In addition to driving behavior, our system also presents users with a visual, real-time map view of the airport apron. Fleet managers can easily look at route optimization and send their drivers via the most direct route to get to where they need to be—and not only direct them to that route, but ensure that the drivers actually take that route.

Airline service partners that provide ground equipment fueling services are motivated to optimize their routes and fueling metrics, and that’s something that Ctrack makes easy. Before the conveniences of asset tracking, the only way for refuelers to know they need to provide refueling is when someone calls for service. This means tracking down the fueling truck, finding out what the driver is scheduled to do, finding out when they can support the person calling, and then sending the fuel truck there. Ctrack’s solution removes the guessing game and last-minute footwork.

Running out of fuel on diesel equipment not only costs time, it can also lead to expensive engine repairs. A diesel engine that’s run with low-to-no fuel in it can’t just be refilled again and sent on its way. A knowledgeable mechanic must do what’s known as “reprime” the vehicle, or “bleed” the system, to remove any sediment that can damage the injectors and remove all air from the system. This downtime costs airlines money. A tracking solution ensures that this will never happen again.

Managing your fleet is now in your control! Ctrack provides real-time information on exact fuel levels in every fleet vehicle, so you can predict which vehicles will need refueling and when, and prepare an efficient route to service them.

Inseego’s Crack asset tracking system for airlines allows you to maintain your equipment on time, refuel your equipment when it needs it, and track what your fleet is doing. You may not be able to control what OPEC is doing, but you CAN control your fuel usage.