Alaska Airlines says passengers who see a scimitar on its jets’ wings shouldn’t take fright while in flight, as the airline installs new fuel-saving winglets on its fleet of Boeing 737 airliners.
In a Monday statement, airline officials say the “scimitar split winglet,” which features protrusions both above and below modified jets’ wingtips, will save each aircraft 58,000 gallons of fuel per year. The airline expects to reap significant savings from the winglets, which let jets use less engine power at cruise speeds.
“The split winglet will save the airline $20 million and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 57,000 tons annually, which is the equivalent of taking about 11,900 passenger vehicles off the road each year,” airline officials wrote.
The winglets will be installed on a total of 111 aircraft in Alaska’s all-737 fleet beginning next year, including most of Alaska’s 737-800 and 737-900 model jets, as well as all of its 737-900ER extended-range aircraft. Work on the project, which will be conducted as aircraft rotate into hangars for maintenance, is expected to end by 2017.
According to winglet developer Aviation Partners Boeing’s website, the version being fitted to the Alaska Airlines fleet shows a 40 percent improvement over the performance of the firm’s original scimitar blended winglet.