Airline expenses break down across planes, labor, and jet fuel. The amount of fuel it takes to fly a plane varies based on how much weight the plane needs to carry. So if passengers would lose weight, airlines would save money. If everyone dropped 10 pounds on Ozempic, United Airlines would save $80 million per year.
Airlines and planemakers obsess about reducing jet-fuel consumption by constantly finding new ways to reduce aircraft weight. They may have new allies in Ozempic and other similar slimming medications.
United Airlines Holdings Inc. would save $80 million a year if the average passenger weight falls by 10 pounds, Sheila Kahyaoglu, a Jefferies Financial analyst, estimated in a report Friday.
David Slotnick reminds that United found it could save $290,000 by printing its Hemispheres magazine using lighter paper, saving weight and therefore fuel.
When Emirates launched their Airbus A380 with showers in first class they offset the added weight of the water for bathing with reduced paper in seat backs of economy.
Every tweak to onboard weight matters. In fact, if everyone reduced their weight by going to the bathroom prior to boarding a flight, airlines would save $100 million per year. That might even be an argument for charging for on board lavatory use – since it would encourage people to use free bathrooms on the ground before the flight.
To be sure, I don’t think we decide what to prescribe as a best practice based on airline fuel savings. And there are still questions about the long-term benefits of what appear to be miracle weight loss drugs, simply because they’re still new. I do think this points to broader potential for ways that the drugs could be transformative.
Denmark now publishes its GDP with and without Wegovy manufacturer Novo Nordisk. Wegovy was a diabetes drug that helped obese patients lose 15% – 20% of body weight in about a year. It’s part of a GLP-1 agonist revolution that includes Ozempic and Mounjaro.
And lower body weight generally has health benefits. In a five year study Wegovy appeared to show a 20% decrease in risk for heart attacks and strokes in overweight, older patients. The drugs are expensive, but health care costs fall for people who lose weight, too (though not as much as the current cost of the medications). These drugs will become more accessible, though, as the patent on Ozempic expires in eight years.