Home' Asian Aviation : AAV February 2011 Contents Manufacturers
[regulators and airports] have to
catch up with the airplane."
Boeing said the new Boeing
Sky Interior is "the most visibly
satisfying development" of the
aircraft, arising from studies of
passenger concerns and needs. e
new cabin interior includes design
innovations "that not only provide
more room and comfort, but
embrace passengers in the airplane
cabin, help to separate them from
the frantic hustle and bustle and
lines of airports, and restore the
magic to ight", according to the
"By the time people get to our
product they are in the middle of one of the worst
days of their year," said Kent Craver, regional
director of passenger satisfaction and revenue
marketing. He adds that a psychologist on Boeing's
study team told designers that "we need to create a
separation between events on the ground and ight
-- this psychological separation of events is created
naturally when people are welcomed. We developed
the architecture to provide this welcome."
Redesigned overhead baggage bins o er more
headroom while still accommodating more carry-on
baggage. So blue light-emitting diode lights o er a
greater sense of space and calm and psychologically
link the passengers "to the natural environment of
ight -- the sky", Boeing said. Sculpted sidewalls
enhance the appeal of restyled windows. Light-
switch panels are less confusing than before and
cabin lights o er various levels of luminosity.
Craver added that the Boeing Sky Interior would
become an industry standard, as well as a marketing
draw for airlines. "We can't introduce it fast enough,"
The first 737 fitted with the new interior was
delivered to ydubai of the United Arab Emirates
on 27 October, while the rst delivery to an Asia-
Paci c carrier was to Malaysia Airlines (MAS) on
29 October. ree more customers received Boeing
Sky-equipped aircra before the end of the year,
while total orders for jets with the new cabin run to
1,386 aircra for 50 airlines.
Beyond the cabin interior improvements, Boeing
is introducing aerodynamic improvements to the
737 airframe, as well as upgrades to its CFM56-7B
turbofan powerplants. e upgrades, targeting a 2
percent reduction in fuel consumption and carbon
emissions, are now under test, and scheduled for
delivery starting in mid-2011.
A 2 percent improvement may sound meagre,
but Boeing stresses that the gure translates into
an annual saving of US$120,000 on fuel costs per
aircra -- based on a fuel price of US$2.58 a gallon
over a 500 nautical mile trip. at translates into
a net present value of US$1 million saved over 20
years, said chief engineer Hamilton.
In terms of environmental bene ts, a 2 percent
improvement equals an annual reduction in carbon
emissions of 470t per aircra . If a carrier has to pay a
carbon tax, that means it would save US$11,700 per
year at US$25 a ton per aircra , said Jamie Jewell,
director of strategic communications for CFM
Aerodynamic improvements include redesigned
wheel fairings, louvered exhaust duct doors, wing
surfaces and a new, teardrop-shaped anti-collision
light, all of which reduce the aircra 's aerodynamic
drag. Boeing says that the airframe modi cations
account for half the performance bene t, while
engine upgrades bring about the other half.
CFM is improving the design of airfoils in the
engine's high- and low-pressure turbines to boost
e ciency, using advanced, computer-aided design
techniques. e engine maker is also improving
engine durability and cutting the parts count to trim
But even with all these upgrades, Boeing and
CFM engineers remain con dent that there are
more to be found.
" e new performance-improvement package
to the airframe and engines may get more, but we
are telling customers it is 2 percent [improvement],"
said Hamilton. Jewell added that CFM may have
underestimated the fuel-burn
gains from its engine upgrades.
"What we've seen in the test
cell on our engines is actually
better than the 1 percent
committed to Boeing," she said.
"But for now we are sticking
with 1 percent until we see how
it performs on the airplane."
Beyond the fuel savings, CFM's
engine improvements also cut
maintenance costs by as much
as 4 percent, in part thanks
to the fact that the upgraded
powerplants have fewer airfoils
and more durable parts. Offering higher thrust,
the engines also bene t from a large exhaust gas
temperature (EGT) margin -- the di erence between
the actual EGT and the upper permissible limit --
extending the powerplant's time-on-wing.
Since the rst 737NG entered service in 1998, the
aircra 's fuel consumption has improved by about 5
percent. With the additional 2 percent, that becomes
a 7 percent reduction in fuel burn over 12 years,
"Every ve years we have ... improved the fuel
consumption of the airplane," the engineer said.
Ground testing of an aircraft featuring the
improvements -- scheduled for delivery to Continental
Airlines in mid-year -- began in November. e aircra
is expected to begin ight-testing in April.
e latest improvements to the aircra are the latest
in a long series introduced over the years by Boeing.
Perhaps the most eye-catching of those previous
upgrades was the introduction in 2002 of Blended
Winglets for drag reduction and improved fuel-
"As the 'swoosh' is to Nike and Mickey Mouse is
to Disney, winglets became the Next-Generation
737's most recognisable and in-demand feature," said
Boeing. " ey are a prime example of the marriage
of artistic form to engineering function."
e winglets "are a real value to airlines in terms
of 3.5 to 4 percent fuel consumption improvement,"
said Hamilton. ey are featured on 95 percent of
all aircra leaving 737 nal assembly -- a number
that has steadily increased since the winglets'
In 2008, Boeing introduced carbon brakes for
the 737 family, reducing weight by 700lb -- the
equivalent of adding three passengers, or yielding a
AsianAviation | FEBRUARY 2011 35
Malaysia Airlines is the first Asia-Pacific operator to take
delivery of a 737 with the new Boeing Sky Interior.
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