Air New Zealand fits winglets to reduce fuel, emissions


Air New Zealand estimates it will save more than NZ$7.5 million in fuel and 16,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually by fitting performance-enhancing blended winglets on to its five Boeing 767-300ER aircraft.

The 767 fleet, which operates to Australia, the Pacific Islands and Honolulu, will be fitted with the winglets progressively from July next year. The work will be carried out by Air New Zealand Technical Operations and is expected to be completed by the end of 2009.

The winglets, developed by Aviation Partners Boeing, a joint venture of Aviation Partners Incorporated and The Boeing Company, are 3.4m high wing-tip devices which make the aircraft’s wing more efficient by reducing the drag near the wing tip. This means the aircraft uses less fuel, and can climb faster.

Air New Zealand General Manager Airline Operations Captain David Morgan said the fitting of the winglets were part of Air New Zealand’s ongoing commitment to reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

While the winglets were a significant investment, they would provide long-term environmental, performance and commercial benefits for aircraft operating services on longer sectors, he said.

“As a result of this initiative we expect to reduce the fuel consumption across our 767 fleet by around 1.6 million barrels annually. This translates into multi-million dollar savings for the business given the very high cost of jet fuel.”

The airline will also consider winglets for some of its other aircraft operating long-haul services, such as the Boeing 777-200ERs, as they became available.

Captain Morgan says Air New Zealand has been a world-leader in examining every aspect of its flight operations to reduce carbon emissions by saving fuel.
“Air New Zealand has been at the forefront of finding ways to minimise our environmental impact and so far our flight operations programme has delivered 91,000 tonnes in reduced carbon emissions in just over three years. We had a goal of topping 100,000 tonnes within five years and we look like beating that by almost two years,” he said.

Initiatives that have been adopted by the airline range from reducing weight on the aircraft to more accurate fuel loadings, optimising flight speeds, better use of ground power when aircraft are at the airport gate and improved descent profiles.

The airline is part of a ground-breaking initiative at San Francisco Airport to increase the efficiency of air traffic, which has saved in the first six months an estimated 48,000 litres of fuel and 120 tonnes of CO2 emissions.