International Council on Clean Transportation finds low fuel prices and high travel demand undercut overall fuel-efficiency gains in aircraft operations in 2015 and 2016


The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has released its 2015/2016 fuel efficiency ranking of U.S. domestic airlines with results showing that a sharp increase in revenue passenger miles (RPM) drove both profits and fuel consumption on domestic operations up between 2014 and 2016 for U.S. airlines.

For the fourth consecutive year, Dallas-based Airline Data Inc has played a critical role in the study by serving as the ICCT research team’s primary source for airline data. As the nation’s oldest airline data provider, the company has become an integral part of producing this annual report and has grown to be seen as a significant partner in the success of the study.

“Airline Data Inc has been a valuable partner for our aviation fuel efficiency work since 2013,” says Dan Rutherford, aviation program director at ICCT.  “The Hub is key to our airline rankings, and they always go the extra mile to provide the highest quality data for our research.”

Highlights from this year’s study include:

  • Alaska Airlines ranked first in overall fuel-efficiency among US carriers for seventh year in a row, while the gap between it and the least fuel-efficient carrier, Virgin America in 2016, widened slightly to 26%.
  • Since 2012, the average profit margin for domestic carriers has increased nearly six fold, from 3% to 17% in 2016, thanks to lower fuel prices and higher ancillary fees. Compared to 2012, U.S. domestic carriers saved about $17 billion in fuel costs last year, about 20% of which were devoted to lower fares for passengers.
  • Between 2014 and 2016, overall revenue passenger miles on domestic operations rose by 10% for U.S. carriers. That growth outstripped a 3% overall improvement in fuel efficiency (measured in RPMs per gallon of fuel), causing fuel use and CO2 emissions to jump by 7%.

Jeff Pelletier, Managing Director for Airline Data Inc says that ICCT’s decision to use Airline Data Inc products year-after-year shows the power of their data tools and highlights the value and versatility of the information that his company provides.

“Accurate, quality data can create a level of transparency in aviation that ultimately serves in the interest of businesses, shareholders, and even the airlines themselves.  Information fuels economies, powers organizations, and empowers consumers. Our data is the source of a lot of that information.”

A full copy of the study can be found online at:

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 About Airline Data Inc – Airline Data Inc was established in 1987 as Data Base Products, Inc. The company was founded to provide airports, airlines, consultants, and travel-related industries with quality U.S. commercial airline data and has grown to be the premier provider of aviation data.  In 2017, the company was renamed Airline Data Inc to more clearly communicate its service offerings.  2017 also saw the introduction of The Hub, an accurate, easy-to-read, mobile-friendly dashboard that is fully customizable and allows users to quickly collect information from four key data sets: O&D (Origin and Destination), T-100, Schedules, and Form41 Financials.

 About The International Council on Clean Transportation – ICCT is an independent nonprofit organization founded to provide first-rate, unbiased research and technical and scientific analysis to environmental regulators. Its mission is to improve the environmental performance and energy efficiency of road, marine, and air transportation, in order to benefit public health and mitigate climate change.