The Boeing 787 has been a passenger and airline favourite now, for just over a decade. For airlines, it’s the estimated 30% extra fuel efficiency versus older model aircraft, and the new cabin themes which help add welcomed branding touches. For passengers, it’s the huge windows, improved air quality, more pleasant air pressure and on some 787 aircraft, even loo’s with a view.
While fuel savings and new lighter weight materials already make the 787 one of the more “eco friendly” options in the sky, Etihad and Boeing have teamed up to see if there isn’t more than can be done.
Etihad x Boeing
Etihad is a major buyer of the Boeing 787, with a fleet of around 38 of the two longest Dreamliner variants, the 787-9, and stretched out 787-10. Though there may be a bit of PR spin at hand to soften delivery deferments, Etihad and Boeing really are working to attempt to find ways to make the 787 Dreamliner “greener”.
In partnership with NASA and Safran, a leading manufacturer of all things “airline” from seats to landing gear, Boeing and Etihad seek to reduce noise levels, pollution and other elements of flight with the EcoDemonstator progam.
According to Safran Landing Systems, landing gear can contribute as much as 30-40 percent of external noise heard on approach, and new landing gear solutions may be able to reduce that statistic by 20%. Noise pollution is a key issue to communities on the ground.
“This year marks our seventh ecoDemonstrator program, and continues our history of innovation and technology acceleration using flight demonstrators while collaborating with industry partners like Safran. These shared learnings benefit all as we push to make travel more sustainable, enjoyable and safe for passengers. Safran’s noise reduction testing can make strides in reducing noise for our communities, and we value their contributions to the program.”Kourosh Hadi, Director, Boeing Airplane Product Development
Being more environmentally friendly isn’t just pie in the sky for airlines, it’s big business too. Fuel costs continue to be one of the largest operating costs, even in a time of low oil prices, and reducing drag, with things like new landing gear can save millions annually.
At a time when airlines are haemorrhaging money, it’s a great time to experiment, particularly if you’re not quite ready to pay for your planes yet. The project kicks off this month, August 2020.