The speed of some airlines’ planes is slower than others.. why?

An excited passenger noticed on Friday that a Spirit Airlines plane that had taken off before his United Airlines From the Houston airport, it’s way too late, according to the flight tracker.

The passenger guessed, Spirit was probably flying slower to save money, like a frugal driver on the highway. The fuel consumption usually decreases when traveling at 50 mph.

This interesting observation revealed an open secret in the world of airlines and flights: they don’t all fly at the same speed. Two identical itineraries with identical weather conditions can have two different airspeeds.

Those speeds all depend on the specific airline and its goals, Bernstein Airlines analyst Daniel Ruska told Yahoo Finance. He said some airlines, such as Ryanair and Wise, usually fly at the optimum speed that reduces fuel burn on the road.

He added that for non-low-cost airlines they sometimes fly their planes faster to achieve higher productivity (given that their planes are on the ground for a long time).” He pointed out that this ultimately depends on the company’s revenue policy, if it has busy schedules from Flights fly faster to increase the number of daily flights, and if the schedule is not crowded, they reduce the cost of fuel and flight according to economic limits.”

In other words, speed is determined by the airline’s goals, whether it’s performing on time, increasing flights, or saving money on fuel – all of which are in flux depending on the airline, day and situation.

“The differences aren’t great,” Ruska said. Planes typically fly at speeds between 466 mph to 547 mph, a difference of about an additional 81 mph.

many variables

According to aviation analyst Robert Mann, aircraft physics further complicates the speed equation, as he said that aircraft looking to compensate for speed usually fly at a lower altitude, but with a lower load capacity of passengers and cargo.

Elevation is tricky because it is often a function of weight, and Mann explained that long flights often have to have “step ascent”, the time when a plane climbs slowly as it burns fuel, because the fuel itself represents a significant amount of weight.

He added that aircraft cannot reach the final flight height at the initial departure weight, noting that in the future, electric aircraft will rewrite the long-distance operating manual, given that the battery does not burn or lose weight over time, which creates a challenge for electric propulsion.


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