DALLAS — On Friday morning, the world’s first cargo aircraft modified with the fuel-saving AeroSHARK surface technology began scheduled service in Frankfurt (FRA).
After transporting passengers on the first modified Boeing 777-300ER in October, Lufthansa Cargo (LH) has now introduced the AeroSHARK tech in airfreight with its first modified Boeing 777F.
The modification, developed jointly by Lufthansa Technik and BASF, allows both types of Boeing 777 to save up to 1% on fuel and emissions.
At around 5:00 a.m., the first modified Boeing 777F, registered D-ALFA and carrying flight number LH8410, took off on its inaugural flight from Frankfurt to Bengaluru, India, and then to Chengdu, China.
The AeroSHARK modification was completed well ahead of schedule in mid-January as part of the freighter’s scheduled maintenance layover. The aircraft has now returned to active service after its maintenance was completed.
AeroSHARK is a surface film that is designed to resemble the microscopic structure of shark skin. It is made up of riblets, which are 50-micrometer-sized ribs. Significant fuel savings can be realized if the airflow on the fuselage and engine nacelles of the Boeing 777F is optimized in this manner.
Lufthansa Technik estimates a 1% fuel savings for Lufthansa Cargo’s aircraft. If this is applied to LH Cargo’s entire Boeing 777 fleet, it will result in annual savings of over 4,000 metric tons of kerosene and nearly 13,000 metric tons of CO2, which is equivalent to approximately 53 one-way/direct cargo flights from Frankfurt to Shanghai.
Reducing the Carbon Footprint
The AeroSHARK modification will gradually be applied to Lufthansa Cargo’s entire 777 freighter fleet, making these eleven aircraft more fuel-efficient and emitting less pollution. SWISS is also having AeroSHARK modify its entire sub-fleet of twelve Boeing 777-300ERs. The second and third aircraft have already been modified and will be back in service soon.
Lufthansa Technik received a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in December of last year for two types of Boeing 777, paving the way for the serial application of AeroSHARK to the launch customers’ 777 fleets, which has now begun.
“We are proud to be able to operate our entire freighter fleet even more efficiently in the future thanks to sharkskin technology and to further reduce the carbon footprint of our modern fleet. Our investments for the introduction of AeroSHARK bring us closer to our goal of being 100 percent CO2 neutral in the air by 2050; on the ground, we would like to achieve this goal as early as 2030,” explains Dorothea von Boxberg, Chairwoman of the Executive Board and CEO of Lufthansa Cargo.
Featured image: Folie de Sharkskin Boeing 777 modification. Photo: Lufthansa Technik AG