High oil prices are forcing airlines into desperate measures to conserve in any way they can, but one carrier may actually benefit from prolonged tightness in fuel supplies.
According to the Associated Press, airlines are implementing a number of changes, some relatively straightforward and others fairly unorthodox, to reduce their fuel consumption. United Airlines' new low-cost carrier, Ted, recently experimented with flying 14 miles per hour slower on some flights, an initiative that shaved fuel use by 3,000 gallons over Memorial Day weekend.
These tactics help lower consumption to a limited degree, but newer, more efficient jets also appear to provide a significant advantage. JetBlue and ATA Holdings
Of the two carriers, though, only JetBlue is in shape to take on all comers. Motley Fool contributor Salim Haji has remarked that fuel-cost pressures may accelerate the airline industry's ongoing shake-up, which he predicts will ultimately end in low-cost carriers leaving traditional players in the dust. Surely, in this conflict JetBlue will emerge as a winner.
Consistently high fuel prices, though, could drive a second wave of disruption -- this one among low-cost outfits. In this scenario, the discount carriers would duke it out, and those with the lowest fuel expense would carry an advantage. With its efficient and growing fleet, JetBlue is already prepared to wage and win this battle.
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Fool contributor Brian Gorman is a freelance writer living in Chicago, Ill. He does not own shares of any companies mentioned here.