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Posted: Feb 14, 2011
easyJet tests nanotechnology for fuel efficiency
(Nanowerk News) easyJet, the UK's largest airline, today announced that it is the first commercial airline to trial a revolutionary nanotechnology coating on its aircraft aimed at reducing drag and increasing fuel efficiency.
The ultra thin coating, already used on US military aircraft, is a polymer that cross links and bonds to the paint surface and only adds an estimated 4oz to the weight of the aircraft. The coating reduces the build up of debris on the aircraft's structure, leading edge and other surfaces; thus reducing drag on the surface of the aircraft. The manufacturers of the coating estimate that it could reduce easyJet's fuel consumption by 1-2%. The airline has coated eight aircraft and will compare their fuel consumption with the rest of the fleet during a 12 month trial period.
An easyJet passenger is responsible for 22% fewer emissions than a passenger on a traditional airline, when they fly the same route and use the same type of plane. Since its launch in 1995, easyJet has always strived to improve its efficiency to keep its costs down. Passengers benefit through low fares and a reduced carbon footprint.
This is achieved through a range of investments and innovations. easyJet's fleet of 194 aircraft, many with Tech Insertion engines, is one of the youngest in Europe averaging less than four years old. It fills more of its seats than more than any scheduled European airline with a load factor of over 87%. easyJet planes taxi using one engine, use less ground equipment than legacy carriers and fly passengers to airports close to city centres, often with good public transport links. Weight onboard is reduced with light-weight carpets and the airline is currently looking at lighter seats in the cabin.
Carolyn McCall easyJet's CEO said: "easyJet is really pleased about the trial with the special coating on our aircraft. Efficiency is in easyJet's DNA. If we can find new ways of reducing the amount of fuel used by our aircraft we can pass the benefits onto our passengers by offering them low fares and a lower carbon footprint. All airlines should be incentivised to reduce the environmental impact of their operations which is why we welcome the government's commitment to move from APD to a fairer, greener per plane tax. We look forward to seeing the details of their proposal.