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Aero Design Labs: Westjet gives the Boeing 737-700 an aerodynamic upgrade

A US startup has developed aerodynamic improvements for the Boeing 737 to reduce fuel consumption. Westjet wants to introduce these first.

Westjet wants to make its Boeing 737 fleet more efficient. The Canadian airline is working with a small American company that offers modifications to reduce wake turbulence and thereby lower fuel consumption.

The Texan startup Aero Design Labs has now received certification for the Boeing 737-700 from the FAA. By the end of the year, they also want to get these for the longer variants 737-800 and 737-900.

Improved aerodynamics

Aero Design Labs has developed the so-called Aerodynamic Drag Reduction System (ADRS 1) and hopes that this will result in a 1.5 percent reduction in the kerosene consumption of a Boeing 737. This will also lower the aircraft’s emissions. A conversion should only take a little time.

This should work with upgrades to the structure between the wing and the fuselage, extended landing flap rail fairings, and minor modifications to reduce air resistance below the fuselage – such as the landing gear fairing. Although these add-ons increase the curb weight by around 50 kilograms, this does not have a negative effect overall due to the improved aerodynamics.

Westjet as Erstkunde

Aero Design Labs worked with the Calgary-based airline to develop the project. The two companies carried out joint tests for installation, data collection and certification. Westjet is now set to become the launch customer and implement the upgrades in its own Boeing 737-700 fleet of over 40 aircraft.

Before this can be done, however, approval from the Canadian transport authority is required. However, this is more of a formality, since approval has already been granted by the FAA in neighboring USA.

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