8 August 2019 | Operations

Virgin Australia to save hundreds of thousands of kilograms of fuel per year with new winglets

Virgin Australia has today become the first Australian airline to install and operate an aircraft with Split Scimitar Winglets, which will deliver both economic and environmental benefits, after the first of its Boeing 737 Next Generation (NG) aircraft fitted with the winglets took off to Fiji.

Split Scimitar Winglets improve the fuel efficiency of the aircraft by reducing the drag created at the end of the wingtip and by distributing the lift of the aircraft more evenly across the whole wing.

Virgin Australia Acting Chief Operations Officer, Stuart Aggs said: “The Split Scimitar Winglet uses existing blended winglet technology but adds new aerodynamic Scimitar tips, designed in a sideways V shape, further increasing the efficiency of the aircraft and reducing the amount of fuel we burn and cutting our carbon emissions.

“With fuel being one of the largest costs for airlines, we’re attracted to the benefits the winglets can provide. The fuel benefits increase with sector length so we’ll be retro-fitting the winglets to five of our Boeing 737 NG aircraft currently operating services to destinations like Fiji, New Zealand, Bali and the Pacific Islands.

“We’ve estimated the winglets will save us, approximately 160,000 kilograms of fuel, which equates to 200,000 litres and a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of approximately 515 tonnes, per aircraft, per year. That’s the equivalent of planting 7,725 trees, just from one aircraft’s annual savings.

“We’re proud to be the first Australian airline to introduce the winglets and continue to find ways to reduce our impact on the environment and be a more socially responsible airline,” Mr Aggs said.

The technology developed by Aviation Partners Boeing, is being used by many airlines globally who are reaping the economic and environmental benefits of the winglets.

If you’re planning an upcoming trip to Fiji, New Zealand, Bali or the Pacific Islands with Virgin Australia, make sure you check outside your window as you could be flying on one of these aircraft.