Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) has announced that it will be the world’s first passenger airline to use the new AeroSHARK aircraft skin technology on its planes.
Jointly developed by Lufthansa Technik and BASF, AeroSHARKis a new biomimetic film that features millions of ‘riblets’ – tiny 50-micrometre-high protrusions – that replicate the highly hydrodynamic skin of sharks and thus reduces an aircraft’s aerodynamic drag. This, in turn, results in a reduction in fuel consumption and hence carbon dioxide emissions.
All 12 of SWISS’s Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will have 950 square metres of the film applied to their fuselage and engine nacelles, starting from mid-2022. The resulting reduction in aerodynamic drag will make the fleet about 1.1 per cent more fuel-efficient, which will add up to an annual reduction in fuel consumption of more than 4,800 tonnes andCO2 emission of up to 15,200 tonnes – the amount emitted by some 87 long-haul flights from Zurich to Mumbai.
According to Lufthansa Technik, if the sharkskin technology was applied to the global fleet of long-haul aircraft, it could save close to five million tonnes of kerosene per year. The material is extremely resilient, capable of withstanding large temperature shifts, pressure differentials and the UV radiation experienced on high flight levels.
Lufthansa Cargo is applying the film to its entire Boeing 777F freighter fleet from the beginning of this year.
‘Reducing its environmental footprint is one of the greatest challenges ahead for the aviation sector, and being carbon-neutral in our flying by 2050 is a key SWISS strategic objective,’ said SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx. ‘We put a major emphasis at SWISS on actively promoting and making targeted investments in new technologies. And we’re delighted that, in becoming the world’s first passenger airline to use the innovative AeroSHARK technology, as we’ll be doing with our Boeing 777 fleet, we’ll now be making a further substantial contribution to ensuring more sustainable travel.’