A350-1000 receives cargo in Tianjin

Switch Weight Variant

Save on your airport and navigation charges

Did you know your airport and navigation charges may not be aligned with your current load factors?

All aircraft are delivered with Weight Variants that determine the payloads that a given aircraft can fly with. 

A Weight Variant (WV) is defined by three design weights, which are computed based on aircraft strength and airworthiness requirements and that limit operational use of the aircraft:

  • MTOW (Maximum Take-Off Weight) - the maximum weight at the start of the take-off
  • MLW (Maximum Landing Weight) - the maximum weight for landing
  • MZFW (Maximum Zero Fuel Weight) - the maximum weight before fuel is loaded

Ready to save cash every time you fly?

Our Weight Variant switching service can help you reduce cash out on airport and navigation charges. Click the link below to receive an estimate of how much you could save.

Get your personalised evaluation now!

aircraft weight: details for engine start & taxi out, trip fuel reserves, payload, operator's items, manufacturer's weight empty

The declared weights of an aircraft and therefore its Weight Variant are a key element in determining the airport and navigation charges an airline will pay for a given route.

From an operational standpoint, higher design weights allow operators to increase the capabilities of the aircraft (payload and/or range).

However, ANSP (Air Navigation Services Providers) and airports charge fees to cover the use of their services, infrastructure and equipment on ground and all along the flight.

Most of these charges are based on the MTOW (or MLW in some regions).

List of charges:

  • Landing fees
  • Take-off fees
  • Terminal navigation charges
  • Parking charges
  • Noise fees
  • Lighting charges
  • Navigation charges

So where does the problem lie?

Today, with the current Covid-19 context, airlines continue flying albeit with different weights compared to before the crisis, but most importantly with the same weight variants. This operational shift impacts negatively cost-effectiveness due to a similar amount of airport and navigation charges for a lot less revenue-generating weight.

To ensure cost efficiency of the route, there should be a consistency between the sector lengths in the airline network and optimum payload-range of the aircraft used.


List of Covid impacts on weights


Lower load factors

  • Mid to long-term drop of passenger demand
  • In-flight social distancing measures
  • Change of operations from PAX to cargo


Shorter routes


  • Routes and network reorganisation based on profitability
  • Closed international borders


Newer aircraft with higher design weights to fly again first



  • Early retirement of older aircraft with historically lower MTOW/MZFW


Switch weight variant and save on your airport and navigation charges


Airlines can easily change their aircraft’s weight variants to better match their current load factors and routes, and reduce their airport and navigation fees.

Airbus’ Single Weight Variant option is a ready-to-use solution to match with immediate needs and adapt your payload. It is ideal when the aircraft’s weight varies little between flights.

Use case: simple evaluation for a route from Amsterdam (AMS) to Madrid (MAD) // distance = 879 km


Weight Variant-AMS-MAD-Example

Payback less than 130 flights (considering savings on AMS-MAD route with average load factors and latest commercial conditions on WV reduction package)

The Multiple Weight Variants (dual or more) option is a great alternative, with more flexibility over time and unlimited switches. You can adapt quickly and continuously with fast-evolving networks to address passenger and cargo demand in the best way.

What do you get?


Maximum reactivity

All weight variant options are now available with shorter lead times



Switch back to previous weight variant when you want


Cash savings

Optimise your cost efficiency with a quick payback

A320 - Optimising cargo efficiency

Ready to save on your airport & navigation charges?

Find out your potential gains and estimated payback time depending on your fleet and routes