For a short period during late October and early November, Finnair is seeking volunteers from among its passengers to be weighed at the boarding gates at Helsinki Airport.
Travellers opting to take part in the tests will be invited to step onto scales while carrying their cabin baggage, immediately prior to getting onto a departing flight. Only the agent operating the system will see the results, which will be recorded anonymously along with the person’s gender, age, and class of travel.
Finnair currently uses ICAO standard weights when performing weight and balance calculations for departing flights. These values are safety-critical, as they are used to ensure the aircraft’s maximum take off weight is not exceeded and that departing flights will be able to get airborne within the runway lengths available. ICAO carried out a survey of more than 23,000 passengers in 2009, which found that a typical male traveller weighed 187lbs (84.6kg) while a female weighed 171lbs (77.4kg). These figures are slightly lower than the averages for the Finnish population. The airline is aiming to collect data that will enable it to assess whether these figures are still appropriate. The carrier also believes that passenger weights vary between seasons, and in winter its customer carry more heavy clothing with them.
Finnair eventually aims to collect data from as many as 1,500 passengers and is planning to repeat the process next spring when travellers are wearing lighter clothing.
Photo: Finnair will weigh a number of volunteer passengers during November as part of a programme to assess whether standard weights are still valid. (Tony Mallett)