"Reducing our environmental footprint is one of the biggest challenges facing the aviation industry, and becoming carbon-neutral until 2050 is an important strategic goal for SWISS," said Dieter Vranckx, Chief Executive Officer of SWISS. "We are keen to actively promote and invest in the use of new technologies. We are pleased to be the world's first passenger airline to offer the innovative AeroSHARK technology on our Boeing 777 fleet, making another important contribution to more sustainable air travel in the future."
"Due to the long lifecycles in our industry, we cannot only rely on new aircraft generations to reduce our environmental footprint, but also need to specifically optimize existing fleets towards sustainability," explained Dr. Johannes Bussmann, Chief Executive Officer of Lufthansa Technik. "AeroSHARK makes a significant contribution to this, and I am very pleased that SWISS is leading the way."
"In developing our Novaflex Sharkskin surfaces, the focus was on a robust yet functional solution that meets the stringent requirements of aviation and also helps our customers achieve their sustainability goals," said Uta Holzenkamp, head of BASF's Coatings division and in this position also responsible for functional films. "The fact that SWISS is convinced by our solution shows that economic action and sustainability go hand in hand."
SWISS will install AeroSHARK on its Boeing 777-300ER fleet successively from mid-2022 during suitable maintenance layovers. The airline had already supported Lufthansa Technik and BASF during the development phase of AeroSHARK: In the summer of 2021, a Boeing 777 wing was precisely measured for the entire duration of a regularly scheduled flight between Zurich and San Francisco. With the data collected, Lufthansa Technik was subsequently able to create highly accurate 3D models for flow simulations, on the basis of which the AeroSHARK modification is to be extended to the wings of the Boeing 777 in the near future in order to realize further savings potential. SWISS will also provide one of its aircraft for the so-called STC flight to obtain the required Supplemental Type Certificate from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
AeroSHARK is a surface technology developed jointly by Lufthansa Technik and BASF that consists of ribs around 50 micrometers in size – known as riblets. It specifically imitates the properties of sharkskin, which has particularly favorable flow characteristics, and thus optimizes aerodynamics at relevant points on the aircraft. As a result, less fuel is needed overall. Lufthansa Technik and BASF intend to systematically develop the new technology further in the direction of additional aircraft types and even larger surfaces, so that in the future they will be able to provide airlines around the world with even more extensive support in achieving their emissions targets. In initial model calculations, the sharkskin technology in its maximum expansion stage could even avoid CO2 emissions to the tune of up to three percent.