Alaska Airlines will soon start flying jets with “split scimitar winglets,” sword-like attachments on the wings that will cut fuel consumption by about 2%.
In an industry with slim profit margins and high fuel prices, that amounts to significant savings. Try $US20 million a year.
The winglets, which cut drag and improve aerodynamics, will be fitted on 111 Boeing Next-Generation 737 jets as they go in for routine maintenance. The installation will begin in early 2014, and should be complete by 2017.
Since Boeing introduced the scimitar winglet early this year, it has taken orders for nearly 800 planes with the technology. United says it will save $US200 million annually once the scimitar winglets it has ordered are in place.
Here’s a rendering of what an Alaska 737 will look like:
And the scimitar without the plane:
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