kulula.com, South Africa’s largest privately-owned low-fare airline, operated by Comair Limited, recently took to the skies fitted with cutting edge technology to ensure increased fuel efficiency. kulula.com known for its pioneering approach to aviation, recently fitted a new set of Split Scimitar Winglets (SSW), on one of its aircraft, making it the first African carrier to install this new technology. The winglets, offered by Aviation Partners Boeing (APB), will be fitted to three additional Boeing Next-Generation 737-800 aircraft currently in the kulula fleet and will also be fitted to the four new Boeing Next Generation 737- 800s which are set to be delivered in late 2015 and 2016.
Captain Martin Louw, Comair’s Operations Director says, “The upgrade from the current Blended Winglets to new Split Scimitar Winglets (SSW) will reduce fuel consumption by 1.4% per aircraft, increase efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and result in an average cost saving of R1.3 million per aircraft per year. This is vital to keep up-to-date with new technology in order to manage our exposure to the volatile fuel price, minimise its impact on airfares and ensure continuous sustainability.”
Christopher Stafford, Director of Sales and Marketing for Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) says, “The Split Scimitar Winglets program is a culmination of a six year design effort and has been our most successful product launch in history. We have used the latest technology to improve aerodynamics resulting in less drag on the aircraft which improves fuel efficiency and take-off performance and minimises environmental impact and maintenance costs. Comair is the first African company to install the new Split Scimitar Winglets to its aircraft which is testament to the company’s long-term objective of investing in future technology to ensure continuous sustainability.”
The SSW uses the existing Blended Winglet structure (the upward-turned part) but adds new aerodynamic scimitar tips and a large ventral strake (the downward-turned part) that curves backwards like a scimitar (a sword with a curved blade). The aerodynamic crafted upswept wingtips minimise drag by reducing the wingtip vortices -mini tornadoes that occur at the ends of airplane wings because of differing pressure above and below.
In March this year Comair announced an order for eight Boeing 737 MAX 8s; in September Comair released positive year-end financial results which can be attributed to the company using more fuel efficient aircraft and equipment, and now it is once again leading the way with innovation and new technology to offer world class products and services in the most efficient way.