Behavioural economics can nudge pilots into boosting fuel and carbon efficiency, finds Virgin Atlantic study


Greenair Online, June 24, 2016


Behavioural economics could be one of the most cost-effective ways of achieving fuel and carbon efficiency savings from airlines, finds an academic study involving Virgin Atlantic captains. Working with research economists from the University of Chicago and the London School of Economics, the airline’s fuel efficiency and sustainability teams developed a process that increased the awareness of Virgin’s 335 captains of the measures they could take to improve fuel efficiency through three sets of behaviours: take-off, in the air and upon arrival. As part of the eight-month study, captains were randomised into one of four groups, including one ‘business as usual’ control group and three active intervention groups. Data from more than 42,000 flights was independently analysed, and the result was fuel savings of £3.3 million ($4.5m) at 2014 prices and CO2 emissions reductions of 21,500 tonnes.

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