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Airline Industry Efficiency Essay

1409 words - 6 pages

Being one of the most energy consuming forms of transportation, the aviation industry has to revolutionize their methods in order to cut their losses. The current state of the economy has caused many businesses to re-evaluate their processes. The airline industry has to come up with more efficient ways to run their companies to effectively control commerce. Some ways that they are planning to accomplish this task is to cut back on flights, fuel consumption, and alternate sources of energy.Airlines plan to update their fleets with planes built for more fuel efficiency. Fuel accounts for thirty-five to forty-five percent of an airline’s budget. To lower that amount airlines are doing a number of things to improve the efficiency of their planes. They are updating their older planes with newer engines that burn less fuel and they are adding winglets which help increase the range of the plane. In some cases the airlines are opting to just buy new planes. Airlines are also focusing on ways to reduce weight. This includes not offering meals on certain flights and cutting back on the amount of extra fuel each plane carries.New engines use a number of design techniques to improve efficiency. Engines are now larger which allows for better airflow with the ability for having a bigger fan. That gives a better fuel to air ratio which in turn produces more thrust without increasing the amount of fuel used. New engines like the Pratt & Whitney PW 4000 has a fan with a 100 inch diameter that produces 65,000 – 70,000 pounds of thrust. Engines are also using computers that automatically adjust the fuel to air mixture as you ascend or descend.Winglets also help conserve fuel by increasing an airplane’s lift by up to five percent without a large increase in weight. Winglets are most commonly found on the Boeing 737. The increase of lift created by the winglets on the B737 reduces fuel burn by 3.5 to 4.0 percent on trips longer than 1,000 nautical miles. Winglets reduce induced drag while increasing the area of the wing. This increase in the wing area allows the plane to climb quicker on takeoff and gives it an improved payload capability. Winglets also reduce the stress on the engines which lowers engine maintenance cost and improves the plane’s downtime. Winglets now come on over eighty-five percent of new B737 orders and Boeing also offers them in retro kits for older B737’s and B757’s.Airlines are also choosing to replace their old planes with new more efficient models like the Boeing 787, Airbus 380 and in the near future the A-350 XWB. These planes take full advantage of new technologies like composite materials. Composites are lighter than aluminum and just as strong as steel. The only drawback is they tend to be very expensive to produce. These new planes will also have health-monitoring systems that will monitor and report any maintenance the plane is in need of. Also, developments in engine technology will help increase the...

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