Hopes "ecoJet" Will Be In Service By 2015
If you design it... maybe someone will build it. That's the
thinking behind the unveiling Thursday of a new,
environmentally-friendlier short-range airliner concept by European
Dubbed the "easyJet ecoJet," easyJet says the aircraft would
need to be 25 percent quieter, and emit 50 percent less CO2 and 75
percent less NOx, than current narrowbodies -- Boeing's 737 (shown
above) and Airbus A320 families.
EasyJet says the ecoJet would also have to generate less than
47g of CO2 per passenger kilometer -- a staggering figure. For
comparison, easyJet says its current fleet generates 97.5g of CO2
per passenger km; the Toyota Prius hybrid automobile emits 104g of
CO2 per km; and the European car industry has recently been given a
target to achieve 130g of CO2 per kilometer.
"The aviation industry has an excellent record in reducing the
environmental footprint of aircraft," said easyJet CEO Andy
Harrison. "Today’s aircraft are typically 70% cleaner and 75%
quieter than their 1960s counterparts. Now we are planning the next
generation that will help towards taking the plane out of the
The design would also contain a number of key features to make
it radically more environmentally efficient, including rear-mounted
"open-rotor" engines (also called unducted fans) the carrier says
offer unrivaled environmental performance for short-haul flying,
due to their higher propulsive efficiency. The aircraft would also
cruise at lower speeds, to reduce drag.
To address noise issues inherent in the unducted fan design --
which have conspired to kill implementation of such technologies
since the 1980s -- easyJet says the blades would be kept at
subsonic rotational speeds for takeoff and landing, and the rear
empennage design helps reduce noise heard on the ground.
The carrier says it is working with "all the relevant airframe
and engine manufacturers on the next generation of short-haul
aircraft" to bring the design to market.
The airline would not say what -- if any -- manufacturers have
signed on to develop the project... although its worth noting
easyJet's ecoJet model shares many similarities with a Boeing
design, dubbed "Fonzie," that first came to light last year. Like
the ecoJet, "Fozzie" sports a long, narrow fuselage, winglets, and
two unducted turbofans mounted atop a reinforced tail