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Airlines estimate weight-loss drugs could save them millions

United Airlines said it estimates drugs like Ozempic could save the airline at least $80 million a year.
The injectable drug Ozempic.
Posted at 10:36 PM, Oct 02, 2023

New focus has been put on trendy weight loss drugs like Ozempic, and some of it from an unusual corner: As airlines try to find ways to reduce the amount of jet fuel they consume, at least one airline believes it could save $80 million per year if passengers lost at least 10 pounds. 

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Sheila Kahyaoglu of Jefferies Financial made the estimate in a report on how plane-makers and airlines could reduce costs for their operations, and possibly for travelers. 

The amount of weight a plane is carrying affects the amount of jet fuel that is used during flights, and sometimes airlines have gone to great lengths to manage the weight their planes carry.

One airline journalist pointed outhow in 2018, United said it found it could save nearly $300,000 annually, at that time, by printing its in-flight magazine called "Hemispheres" on thinner and lighter paper. The change was estimated to save 170,000 gallons of fuel each year. 

View from the Wing reported that when Emirates introduced showers in first class on some of their planes, they had to offset the extra weight by reducing materials in the seats in economy class. 

The weight loss drug Ozempic became a well-known name after a recent spike in use, along with the brand Wegovy. It is also known to help patients with Type 1 diabetes to cut back on their insulin needs.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say some of the largest causes for excess weight gain are eating and physical activity patterns, along with not getting enough sleep. Scientific data indicates that making changes in behaviors and habits can effectively help with weight loss, over the need for pharmaceuticals.