WestJet hopes to cut 40 tons off its carbon footprint and save $12,000 a month in fuel costs on Boeing 737-700 operations with the installation of drag reduction modifications it will test on one of its aircraft. The airline has teamed with Aero Design Labs to install the gear and is now waiting for Transport Canada approval for test flights to begin perhaps this fall. Aero Design Lab has been working on the kit for five years and it recently was awarded a supplementary type certificate by the FAA. WestJet is the first to try it out and will fly two to three months with the kit to see what the real-world savings are.
The kit includes modified fairings, adjustments to other things on the exterior of the aircraft, vortex generators and updated wheel well fairings. They’ve all been developed with proprietary fluid dynamics code that was run through a supercomputer. “Based on our computational fluid dynamics results, we are targeting a 1.5% carbon reduction with the 737-700, and we expect additional gains on the 737-800 and 737-900,” said ADL President Jeff Martin.