Although it can take more than a decade to bring a new aircraft model to service, it doesn’t mean that manufacturers have to wait that long to bring in new technology that will make their aircraft more efficient. Plenty can, and is, being done to existing in-production models to cut down their fuel burn while work continues on designing and building new types.
That is exactly what has been announced by Boeing, this week. While we all wait for the entry into service of the Boeing 777-X in 2018, the manufacturing giant has confirmed that they will bring in efficiency modifications to the existing 777 model for aircraft coming off the production line before the 777-X. These upgrades will include aerodynamic changes, engine efficiency improvements and a substantial weight reduction of around half a tonne. When all of this is factored in, it is estimated to reduce fuel burn by roughly 2% when the modifications are finished in 2016.
The idea is for these modifications to act as an efficiency ‘bridge’, which will help airlines reduce their emissions, whilst at the same time making financial savings on fuel costs.