What do JetBlue Airways and American Airlines pay for fuel?

Those "sharklets" at the edges of the wings help JetBlue save 4% in fuel costs on each aircraft. But JetBlue and other airlines still spend a fortune on fuel.  Photo: Airbus. 

Those "sharklets" at the edges of the wings help JetBlue save 4% in fuel costs on each aircraft. But JetBlue and other airlines still spend a fortune on fuel.  Photo: Airbus. 

We've seen a lot in the news about how lower fuel prices help airlines. But have you ever wondered how much fuel an airline consumes?

I have some data this week courtesy of JetBlue Airways and American Airlines. First, some tidbits from JetBlue, courtesy of a recent SEC filing: 

  • JetBlue used 639 million gallons of fuel in 2014. That's up from 604 million in 2013. The reason for the increase? JetBlue has more aircraft now, including new A321s. 
  • JetBlue spent $1.92 billion on fuel in 2014. That's up only slightly from $1.90 billion in 2013.
  • JetBlue paid an average of $2.99 per gallon for fuel last year, down from $3.14 in 2013. That number includes gains and losses from fuel hedging. 
  • Fuel accounted for 36.1% of all JetBlue costs in 2014. The year before, fuel was 37.9% of all expenses. 

So far, the numbers are looking even rosier for 2015. In an investor update last month, Jetblue guessed it would pay an average of $1.97 per gallon for jet fuel in the first quarter. For the year, JetBlue estimates it will use 695 gallons of fuel. (Of course, that's all subject to change.) 

For a different perspective on fuel, we turn to American Airlines. American wants to fly twice per day between Los Angeles and Mexico City starting in June. Before it can do so, it must receive permission from the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

The DOT requires American to share some rough calculations about fuel burn. So here's what it takes, fuel wise, to operate 730 departures from L.A. to Mexico City: