A new performance-enhancing winglet will help Boeing Next Generation 737s fly more efficiently, Alaska Airlines announced Tuesday.
Seattle-based Aviation Partners Boeing is designing the "Split Scimitar Winglet," which reportedly will reduce fuel consumption by 58,000 gallons a year per aircraft and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 57,000 tons annually.
"Reducing fuel consumption has been a top priority at Alaska Airlines for years," said Mark Eliasen, Alaska Airlines' vice president of finance and treasurer. "Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our employees, we've cut our carbon emissions by 30 percent per passenger mile since 2004. Investing in split winglets will further reduce our fuel use and continue our efforts to be the industry leader in environmental stewardship."
Winglets are designed to save fuel by reducing drag, allowing the aircraft to fly at cruising speed while using less engine power. Alaska Airlines plans to install the first split winglet by early next year, and have it installed on all 111 aircraft in its 737 fleet by 2017. The cost of the winglets is expected to be recouped by saved fuel expenses in about two years.
Although Alaska is expected to save $20 million with the split winglet, the airline made no comment on how it would impact flying costs for passengers.