The first Boeing 777 with AeroSHARK takes off on passenger flights

For the first time, a Boeing 777-300ER operated by Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) took off for a passenger flight with the AeroSHARK surface technology jointly developed by Lufthansa Technik and BASF.

The aircraft’s fuselage and engine nacelles were recently fitted with approximately 950m2 Riblet films, which replicate the efficient flow properties of sharkskin to reduce drag. Flow simulations have already identified savings potential of just over 1% for this aircraft type. The first scheduled flights with the aircraft registered HB-JNH will now be used to validate this savings potential in daily flight operations.

Thanks to its special surface structure of microscopic ribs – known as Riblets – AeroSHARK reduces the frictional resistance of this aircraft’s outer skin by just over 1%, according to calculations and flow simulations. As a result, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are also reduced by the same order of magnitude. For this SWISS Boeing 777-300ER, this would equate to an annual saving of around 400 tonnes of kerosene and more than 1,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The AeroSHARK modification of HB-JNH began in late August and ended with several test flights in September. During these flights, it had to be demonstrated in detail that the AeroSHARK modification had no negative impact on the operational safety and handling of the Boeing 777.

As soon as the calculated savings potential has been validated in real flight operations, the full-scale roll-out to launch customers SWISS and Lufthansa Cargo should begin.

Other Boeing 777s will then receive the AeroSHARK modification as part of regular maintenance stops. The two companies plan to successively equip all their Boeing 777-300ER and 777F with AeroSHARK. This would make them the first passenger and cargo airlines in the world to optimize an entire sub-fleet with this technology. When all eleven current Boeing 777s from Lufthansa Cargo and twelve from SWISS have received their AeroSHARK modification, they will reduce the carbon footprint of the Lufthansa Group by more than 25,000 tonnes per year.

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