02 OCT 2012: United Airlines is keeping a close eye on Delta to see if it gains any actual benefits from buying an oil refinery. "If it works for Delta it can work for us, and it's completely reproducible,'' said United Continental Holdings Inc. CEO Jeff Smisek.

Delta took a unique approach to the high cost of jet fuel - it bought a ConocoPhillips refinery near Philadelphia in June. The company spent $11.8 billion on fuel in 2011 and hopes its investment will cut its fuel bill by $300 million per year.

Meanwhile United is taking a more conventional approach to saving fuel by using more fuel efficient aircraft. It just took delivery of its first Boeing 787, the long awaited Dreamliner composed primarily of composite materials designed to be lighter and more fuel-efficient than the planes currently in use.

United is the first US airline to get the 787 which will be utilized primarily on long haul routes.

But even so, they have an eye on that refinery.

What would that do to fuel surcharges?

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Jen Savedra

Jen Savedra is the founder and editor in chief of Travel Industry Today with  a long career and considerable experience in various sectors of travel and tourism. She is dedicated to producing a publication that differentiates itself from the pack. One that pulls no punches, and - along with being a forum for news and ideas - is easy to navigate and always fun to read.

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