These 'Split Scimitar' Wing Attachments Could Save Southwest Nearly $US14 Million In Fuel Costs

United airlines 737-800 scimitar winglet photoshoppedUnited AirlinesA split scimitar winglet, shown on a United plane.

Southwest Airlines has ordered split scimitar winglets for 85 of its planes, a move that could save it nearly $US14 million annually.

The sword-like attachments, made by Boeing, cut drag and improve aerodynamics.

They represent a step up over blended winglets, thanks to “new strengthened spars, aerodynamic scimitar tips, and a large ventral strake.”

52 Boeing 737-800s will be retrofitted with the scimitar winglets. The system will be included on 33 more 737-800s that should be delivered in 2014.

Southwest says they will cut fuel use by 5%, a 2% improvement over what blended winglets offered. An Aviation Partners Boeing representative estimated Southwest will save more than 55,000 gallons of jet fuel per plane, per year.

Based on December jet fuel prices in North America provided by the International Air Transport, that adds up to $US13,852,025 annually.

According to the latest numbers from the DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Southwest posted an operating profit of $US984 million in 2013. Another $US14 million won’t make a huge difference, but it’s more than a drop in the bucket.

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