United Airlines To Retrofit Next-Generation 737 Fleet
Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) has launched its new Split Scimitar Winglet program with an order from United Airlines, the company announced Tuesday. Using a newly patented design, the program will consist of retrofitting existing Boeing Next Generation 737 Blended Winglets by replacing the aluminum winglet tip cap with a new aerodynamically shaped "Scimitar" winglet tip cap and by adding a new Scimitar tipped Ventral Strake. This revolutionary design was flight tested by Aviation Partners, Inc. in 2012 and demonstrated significant aircraft drag reduction over the basic Blended Winglet configuration.
APB has identified eight unique Boeing Next-Generation 737 configurations that will be considered for possible certification by the FAA; these include: the structurally provisioned and non-provisioned 737-700, 737-800, 737-BBJ, the structurally provisioned 737-900 and the 737-900ER. The initial FAA certification program will be for retrofit conversion of Blended Winglets on 737-800 aircraft that were delivered with wings structurally provisioned for Blended Winglets at time of delivery from the Boeing Next-Generation 737 production line (line numbers 778 and on). FAA supplemental type certification is targeted for October of this year. FAA certification of 737-900ER Split Scimitar Winglets is expected to follow by March 2014.
"We are very pleased that our eco-friendly friends at United have agreed to become the first airline to order Split Scimitar Winglets. This will mark the fifth program that the management team of United has partnered with Aviation Partners Boeing to launch," said Aviation Partners Boeing executive vice president and chief commercial officer Patrick LaMoria. "We are immensely grateful for United's continued support."
United has either been the launch customer for, or otherwise ordered, Blended Winglets for every Boeing commercial aircraft type for which APB offers a winglet system, in chronological order this includes the: 757-200; 737-800; 737-700; 737-900; 737-900ER; 737-500; 737-300; 757-300 and the 767-300ER. APB estimates that, once Split Scimitar Winglets are installed, APB winglet technology (Blended and Split Scimitar) will save United more than $250 million per year in jet fuel costs fleet wide.
"Fuel is United's largest, most volatile expense and we are always looking for opportunities to improve the fuel efficiency of our fleet. The Next-Generation 737 Split Scimitar Winglet will provide a natural hedge against rising fuel prices while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions," said Ron Baur, United's vice president of fleet. "We are looking forward to partnering once again with APB to launch this new winglet program."
APB expects Scimitar Winglet Systems installed on a provisioned 737-800 to save the typical airline more than 45,000 gallons of jet fuel per aircraft per year resulting in a corresponding reduction of carbon dioxide emissions of 476 tons per aircraft per year. The fuel savings can enable a 737-800 to increase its payload up to 2,500 pounds or increase its range up to 75 nautical miles. APB also expects to certify an improvement in low speed performance that will generate significant take-off benefits from high/hot or obstacle limited runways.
Nearly 5,000 Blended Winglet Systems are now in service with over 200 airlines in more than 100 countries. APB estimates that Blended Winglets have saved airlines worldwide more than 3.5 billion gallons of jet fuel to-date.
(Pictured: Artist's rendering of United 737 with new split winglets)