Improvements to UPS flagship 767 aircraft are expected to reduce operating costs and improve sustainability, the American courier announced last week. All 54 of its 767 aircraft fleet, as well as five additional aircraft on order, will benefit from new winglets by the end of 2014.
UPS 767 Aircraft. Image c/o Dylan Ashe
The winglets are arrow-shaped surfaces to be attached to the tip of each wing, which reduce drag and lower noise emissions by enhancing take-off performance. UPS estimates a four per cent fuel savings on each 767 flight, amounting to 6m gallons of fuel a year and 62,000 less metric tonnes of carbon emissions annually.
David Abney, UPS chief operating officer, commented, “We are constantly looking for ways to reduce emissions, and drive down operating costs so our customers have the solutions they need to compete in a global economy. These winglets are a perfect example of sustainability in action. They are good business and good stewardship."
Winglets are already installed on UPS's 747, and MD-11 fleets, and the A300-600 has a similar device called a wingtip fence.
Each winglet is 11 feet tall, will add approximately five and a half feet of span to each wing and around 1300 kilograms in weight. Even at the increased size and weight, the winglets will still reduce the amount of fuel used per flight, due to greatly improved aerodynamics
UPS aims to reduce its carbon intensity by an additional 20 percent by 2020, measured against a 2005 baseline. UPS Airlines President Mitch Nichols said, “We believe there is always some way you can improve, and we're applying that spirit to our environmental efforts. This is a great example of how we can use existing technology to save money, lessen our impact on the environment and serve our customers more efficiently."
Sustainability and corporate responsibility seem top priority for all of the major carriers. DHL recently published its 2012 corporate responsibility report, in which its comparable intention to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by 2020, based on a 2007 baseline, is reiterated.