Graphic of an Air New Zealand Boeing 767 fitted with winglets
Fri 19 Sept 2008 – Following on from last week’s inaugural trans-Pacific test flight conducted under optimum flight planning conditions to reduce journey time, fuel and emissions, Air New Zealand has announced two more initiatives to increase aircraft efficiency, save fuel and reduce CO2 emissions. The first involves retrofitting its five-strong Boeing 767 fleet with blended winglets, the other will see zonal dryers fitted to 42 aircraft that will remove trapped moisture, thereby saving weight and fuel.
The Aviation Partners Boeing winglets are 11-feet (3.4m) high blended wing tip devices which reduce drag near the wing tip so the aircraft uses less fuel. Because they also enable the aircraft to climb faster, the noise footprint around airports is claimed to reduce by 6.5%.
Air New Zealand expects to reduce fuel consumption across the16-year-old 767 fleet by 1.6 million US gallons per year and save more than 16,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions. The airline declined to say how much it would cost for the retrofit but believed the payback would be within three years. It is considering whether winglets should be retrofitted to its Boeing 777-200 fleet.
The installation work, to be carried out by the airline’s own engineering staff, is expected to start next July and be completed by the end of 2009.
Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) has sold hundreds of retrofit winglet kits to airlines for other aircraft types but is still flight testing winglets for the Boeing 767. The company is expecting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification by November.
In July, Japanese carrier ANA ordered Boeing 767 winglets and Hawaiian Airlines announced earlier this week that it too has ordered 767 winglets from APB. Hawaiian has agreed to purchase winglet kits for eight of its 767-300ER aircraft, together with options for a further seven pairs. Installation is scheduled to begin in September 2009 and completed during 2010. Hawaiian estimates it will save up to 5% in fuel consumption, representing more than 300,000 gallons of fuel annually per aircraft and 3,000 fewer tons of CO2 emissions.
APB calculates that as at the end of February this year, its blended wing technology has saved airlines a total of 920 million gallons of jet fuel. By the end of 2014, it projects the figure will have reached 5 billion gallons.
The second new Air New Zealand initiative is the installation of zonal dryers supplied by CTT Systems of Sweden across its Airbus A320 and Boeing 737/767/777 jet fleets.
The electrically-powered dryers, mounted in the space above the ceiling or under the floor, reduce moisture trapped in the insulation between the aircraft outer skin and cabin lining. They typically remove around 200kg of water from an aircraft, thereby reducing weight and fuel consumption. The airline expects to save 500,000 gallons of fuel per year across 42 aircraft and annual CO2 emissions by 4,700 tonnes.
“Reducing fuel burn and emissions got our attention, but reducing moisture also improves the insulation’s effectiveness; it results in a healthier cabin environment and reduces the potential for corrosion,” says Air New Zealand’s General Manager Airline Operations, Captain David Morgan.
Morgan explains each passenger exhales around 100 grams of water an hour and the cold outside temperatures at altitude generate significant condensation, which is retained in the aircraft insulation. “Installing these dryers will improve the environment both inside and outside the aircraft,” he says.
Still in New Zealand, algae biofuel company Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation claims it has produced the first samples of ‘green crude’ oil at a commercially competitive price, reports the New Zealand Herald this week. The biodiesel is made from wild algae grown on human sewage. Aquaflow says the development is significant because it is able to separate fuels such as diesel and aviation fuels from the crude, and the company says its work is “attracting interest from around the world”.
In March, Aquaflow announced the appointment of an aviation consultant to “to lead key areas of operational development, in particular aviation projects”.
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