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Air-Berlin, the first airline in the world to fly in-production Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) Blended Winglets, will equip its entire fleet of 16 Boeing 737-800s with this Performance Enhancing Technology.
“”I’d encouraged Boeing for almost seven years to give us winglets on the Next-Generation 737,”” recalls Air-Berlin Technical Director Siegfried Olivo, a member of Boeing’s Airline Advisory Board for the Next-Generation Boeing 737. “”In the past, winglets have not been designed very effectively. However, there is very sophisticated technology behind the Aviation Partners Boeing Blended Winglet System. The concept, and the execution of technology, is perfect and the efficiency of these winglets has been beyond our expectations.””
Air-Berlin flies its 737-800s on high-utilization 4000 hour per year schedules with average flights of 2.5 hours. In the case of operations from Berlin to the Canary Islands, mission length is over 4.5 hours. Fuel savings, made possible with Blended Winglet Technology, have proven to be truly staggering. “”The magnitude of performance benefits we’re enjoying with Blended Winglet Technology is unheard of in terms of an after-production retrofit,”” states Olivo. “”Normally, you’d be happy to achieve a couple of tenths of a percent benefit from an after-delivery modification — never in the range of 4 – 6%.”” Apart from attractive block fuel savings, the environmental benefits of APB Blended Winglet Technology has turned out to be highly significant. “”With Blended Winglets, we can reduce power settings on take-off and climb faster to altitude. The result is a reduction in both noise footprints and engine emissions,”” claims Olivo. “”Previously, we’d step-climb from 35,000 to 41,000 feet. With Blended Winglets, we can now climb direct to 41,000 feet where traffic congestion is much less and we can take advantage of direct routings and shortcuts which we could not otherwise consider.”” Retrofit downtime to install the light-weight carbon-fiber and honeycomb winglets, including structural wing modifications, is 10 days per shipset.
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