Air New Zealand has announced that will start asking volunteer passengers to weigh themselves before boarding international flights departing from Auckland. The trial is to run from May 29 until July 2 and the goal is to collect data to improve aviation safety.
The airline has set itself the goal to weigh more than 10,000 travelers with their hand luggage for a study that is carried out every five years to improve aircraft safety at the request of the Civil Aviation Authority, according to an Air New Zealand statement. Volunteer passengers will be able to weigh themselves on special scales at the terminal access gates and the data will be collected anonymously at Auckland International Airport.
No one can see your weight, not even us. It’s completely anonymous.Alastair James, Air New Zealand’s load control specialist
This study is conducted every five years, but was interrupted for several years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Air New Zealand conducted a similar study in 2015 for international flights and in 2021 conducted another for domestic flights. For travelers who do not want to know their weight, the airline has ensured that nobody will see the scale not even the employees working at the counters.
“We know stepping on the scales can be daunting. We want to reassure our customers there is no visible display anywhere. No one can see your weight, not even us. It’s completely anonymous,” said Alastair James, Air New Zealand’s load control improvement specialist. “It’s simple, it’s voluntary, and by weighing in, you’ll be helping us to fly you safely and efficiently, every time.”
Among the people who may be asked to participate in the survey are those traveling on the direct flight from Auckland to New York’s JFK airport. The iconic 17-hour route was implemented last fall as the pillar of the airline’s post-pandemic strategy. It is also one of the longest flights in the world, as confirmed by Air New Zealand.
Why knowing the weight makes a difference
In 2003, a similar survey of 15,000 by the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) found the average weight of passengers and their hand luggage to be 85.4kg. As a result of this survey, the CAA set the adult weight (those over 13 years of age) at 86 kilos; the average stemming from 93 kg for men and 75 kg for women.
When an airline has a more precise knowledge of the load an aircraft will carry, the better it can determine how much fuel it will need. According to data from The Independent, airlines often load about 1 per cent more fuel than they need and as a consequence wind up burning up to 0.5 per cent more of it. According to Euronews, airlines spend more than €180 billion on fuel every year. With better estimates, they could be saving nearly €940 million, not to mention the lower level of emissions due to the fuel that is not burned unnecessarily. According to data from German nonprofit Atmosfair, a round trip from Los Angeles to Auckland generates more than 2,000 kg of CO2 emissions per passenger.