Air New Zealand’s move to fit performance-boosting winglets to its fleet is expected to bring savings of NZD 7.5 million in fuel and 16,000 tonnes of emissions each year.
The airline will fit the blended winglets to five of its Boeing 767-300ER aircraft from July next year, with further application planned for its other aircraft on long-haul services.
The 3.4-metre winglets, designed by Aviation Partners Boeing, reduce the drag around the wing tip, allowing the aircraft to climb faster and consume less fuel.
The company’s general manager of airline operations David Morgan said the introduction of the winglets formed part of its ongoing commitment to cutting fuel costs and carbon emissions.
“As a result of this initiative we expect to reduce fuel consumption across our 767 fleet by around 1.6 million US gallons annually. This translates into multi-million dollar savings for the business given the very high cost of jet fuel,” Captain Morgan said.
The airline’s other environmental investments include installing Swedish zonal dryers across four of its jets by 2010. The dryers reduce moisture trapped in the aircraft’s insulation, removing up to 200kg of water from each aircraft.
The technology is expected to cut fuel consumption by nearly two million litres and carbon emissions by 4,700 tonnes annually.
“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,” Caption Morgan said.
He said each passenger exhales round 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 said.
Over the past five years, the airline’s environmental initiatives resulted in a fuel reduction of 36.7 million litres each year, delivering an annual saving of $43 million.