Sharkskin technology helps airlines save fuel and reduce emissions

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has awarded Lufthansa Technik a so-called Supplementary Type Certificate (STC), which paves the way for the series modification of two Boeing 777 models with fuel-efficient AeroSHARK rib membranes.

With STC, the sub-fleet-wide rollout of this sustainability-focused technology jointly developed by Lufthansa Technik and chemical company BASF can now begin at launch customers Lufthansa Cargo and Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS).

AeroSHARK coatings reduce the frictional drag of aircraft skins thanks to their special microrib-like surface structure, called ribs. Therefore, fuel consumption and CO2 Emissions are reduced by about 1%. For every Boeing 777-300ER operated by SWISS, this means an annual saving of around 400 tons of fuel and more than 1,200 tons of CO2.The slightly shorter Boeing 777F saves about 370 tons of fuel and 1,170 tons of CO22 Per year.

Swissair’s (HB-JNH) first Boeing 777-300ER equipped with AeroSHARK began daily operations in October, using a temporary “flight permit” from the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA), valid for one and only the aircraft . STC now allows Lufthansa Technik to apply nature-inspired fins continuously to any specified Boeing 777-300ER and 777F aircraft.

The AeroSHARK modification of the HB-JNH started at the end of August, with STC flights with EASA on September 8th and 9th. These flights were conducted to gather detailed evidence that the AeroSHARK modification had no negative impact on the operational safety and handling of the Boeing 777. The initial flight was followed by several weeks of evaluation of collected data and other documentation, such as measurements from flow simulations. EASA has finally awarded the STC after recently completing a review of all submissions.

“The approval of AeroSHARK for use on the Boeing 777 is an important step in the rollout of this new technology to improve the sustainability of air transport,” says Soeren Stark, CEO of Lufthansa Technik. “Through our partner BASF, we can now support our customers in making their entire sub-fleets more climate-friendly. Furthermore, we intend to use new technologies for even more aircraft types. We are the only company in the world offering such solutions to reduce MRO companies with fuel consumption and CO2 emissions2 Emissions from commercial aircraft. Of course we are very proud of that. “

AeroSHARK will now be installed on all 12 777-300ERs and 11 777Fs of Swissair and Lufthansa Cargo. As such, they will be the first passenger and cargo airline in the world to optimize a complete sub-fleet with fins. Once all Boeing 777s of Lufthansa Cargo and Swissair receive the AeroSHARK retrofit, they will reduce the Lufthansa Group’s carbon footprint by more than 25,000 tons per year.

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