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Study: Obese passengers cost airlines - West of Tomorrow Land:
October 2006
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Sun, Nov. 7th, 2004 06:31 pm
Study: Obese passengers cost airlines

Researchers estimate carriers spent extra $275M on fuel due to more passenger weight in 2000.
November 5, 2004: 8:22 AM EST


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. airlines spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually in extra fuel costs to transport a heavier traveling public, researchers estimate.

The 10-pound increase in the average weight of American adults in the 1990s means additional expenses for struggling airlines today, according to findings published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The researchers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that carriers spent $275 million in fuel costs to carry the additional weight of passengers in 2000.

But fuel costs have risen exponentially since, deepening the red ink at some airlines.

Bankrupt United Airlines said last week it will likely spend $1.2 billion more on fuel this year than first projected.

The calculations do not measure variables like the weight distribution of the flying public or the type of aircraft flown.

But researchers conclude the findings highlight the consequences of obesity in the United States.

Recent government statistics show the average body mass index (BMI), a weight-for-height formula used to measure obesity, has crossed into overweight territory. The average weight of an adult man was 191 pounds in 2002, while the average weight for women was 164.3 pounds.

In May 2003 the Federal Aviation Administration added 10 pounds to per-passenger weight assumptions for calculating aircraft loads.

That step followed the crash of a commuter plane in North Carolina that prompted scrutiny of aircraft weight and balance issues on small planes.

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