UK airline tests nanotechnology for fuel efficiency

easyJet has become the first commercial airline to trial a nanotechnology coating on its aircraft
easyJet has become the first commercial airline to trial a nanotechnology coating on its aircraft. According to the UK airline, the ultra thin coating will reduce drag and increase fuel efficiency.

Traditionally used on US military aircraft, the polymer cross links and bonds to the paint surface and adds an estimated 4oz to the weight of the aircraft. According to easyJet, the coating reduces the build up of debris on the aircraft's structure, leading edge and other surfaces; therefore reducing drag on the surface of the aircraft. The manufacturers of the coating estimate that it could reduce easyJet's fuel consumption by 1 to 2%.

So far, the airline has coated eight aircraft and will compare the fuel consumption with the rest of the fleet during a 12 month trial period.

Carolyn McCall, easyJet's ceo said that efficiency was important for the airline. "If we can find new ways of reducing the amount of fuel used by our aircraft we can pass the benefits onto our passengers by offering them low fares and a lower carbon footprint," she stated. "All airlines should be incentivised to reduce the environmental impact of their operations which is why we welcome the government's commitment to move from APD to a fairer, greener per plane tax. We look forward to seeing the details of their proposal."

Chris Shaw

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