Tech Start-Up Wants to Weigh Passengers Prior to Flying to Reduce Carbon Emissions

Apr 22, 2019

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Would you step on a scale at the airport if it could reduce carbon emissions?

Well, UK-based tech start-up, Fuel Matrix, wants you to say “yes.”

Weight is a huge determining factor when it comes to the amount of fuel an airline pumps into its aircraft. The heavier the load, the more fuel needs to be used. Fuel Matrix wants to fine tune this system — taking the process of calculating the onboard weight a step further. Instead of just weighing baggage, airline’s should also weigh passengers.

The Washington Post reported that most airlines use “generous estimations” to quantify the weight of its passengers. Currently, the standard average weights set by the European Aviation Safety Agency are 197 lbs. for men, 154 lbs. for women and 77 lbs. for children. Roy Fuscone, CEO of Fuel Matrix, believes that by weighing passengers to get a more accurate number, airlines can save fuel.

“It’s critical to know the actual weight an airline is carrying to ensure the correct fuel uplift,” said Fuscone to Lonely Planet. By weighing passengers prior to take-off, the airline or airport staff would be able to calculate the plane’s exact “zero-fuel weight” (the total weight of the plane and its contents) — thus, avoiding the waste of money and carbon emissions that come with overfilling an aircraft. 

Fuel Matrix emphasizes that the process for weighing passengers will be “discreet.” Some ideas the start-up has discussed with UK airports include pressure pads at self-service bag drops or during full body scans.

“We’re not suggesting people should stand on the scales, but airports could fit ‘pressure pads’ in the bag-drop area in front of each screen,” said Nick Brasier, Chief Operating Officer of Fuel Matrix to The Independent. “After the bag has been checked in, the system can ask, ‘Are you standing on the pressure pad?’ If the passenger taps ‘Yes’, then the weight can be recorded and passed confidentially to the airline.”

Data on weight will also be kept totally confidential, protected under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Featured image by Tais Policanti / Getty Images.

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