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SWISS adopts new AeroSHARK riblet film technology

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SWISS will successively install the new AeroSHARK riblet film on its Boeing 777 fleet from mid- 2022 onwards. The work will be performed when each aircraft’s downtimes permit. Also, the airline presents its first aircraft with Premium Economy Class.

SWISS is to become the first passenger airline in the world to take advantage of the new AeroSHARK aircraft skin technology to further reduce the carbon dioxide emissions and the fuel consumption of its flight operations. All twelve of the airline’s Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will successively have the innovative riblet film, which has been co-developed by Lufthansa Technik and chemicals and coatings manufacturer BASF, applied to their fuselage and engine nacelles. The resulting significant reduction in aerodynamic drag will make the SWISS Boeing 777 fleet more than one per cent more fuel-efficient, and this in turn will substantially further reduce its carbon dioxide emissions. SWISS has also supported Lufthansa Technik and BASF in their development of the AeroSHARK film by measuring aircraft performance on its scheduled flights.

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) is to become the first passenger airline in the world to take advantage of the new AeroSHARK aircraft skin technology by applying the innovative riblet film to its Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft fleet. Its investment in this new technology will enable SWISS to substantially reduce its Boeing 777 fleet’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and fuel consumption. AeroSHARK is a new biomimetic film which has been jointly developed by Lufthansa Technik and BASF. The film features millions of ‘riblets’ – small protrusions just 50 micrometres high – which replicate the highly hydrodynamic skin of sharks, and thus reduces an aircraft’s aerodynamic drag wherever it is applied.

Annual CO2 emission savings of up to 15,200 tonnes
By applying a total of 950 square metres of AeroSHARK riblet film to the fuselage and engine nacelle surfaces of a Boeing 777, fuel savings of some 1.1 per cent can be achieved. This will reduce its annual fuel consumption by over 4,800 tonnes and the total annual carbon dioxide emissions of the SWISS Boeing 777 fleet by up to 15,200 tonnes – the amount emitted respectively by some 87 long-haul flights from Zurich to Mumbai.

“Reducing its environmental footprint is one of the greatest challenges ahead for the aviation sector, and being carbon-neutral in our flying by 2050 is a key SWISS strategic objective,” says SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx. “We put a major emphasis at SWISS on actively promoting and making targeted investments in new technologies. And we’re delighted that, in becoming the world’s first passenger airline to use the innovative AeroSHARK technology, as we’ll be doing with our Boeing 777 fleet, we’ll now be making a further substantial contribution to ensuring more sustainable travel.”

SWISS will successively install the new AeroSHARK riblet film on its Boeing 777 fleet from mid- 2022 onwards. The work will be performed when each aircraft’s downtimes permit.

SWISS involved in AeroSHARK’s development, too
SWISS has also supported Lufthansa Technik and BASF in their development of the AeroSHARK film for the Boeing 777. Back in summer 2021, the aerodynamic performance of a Boeing 777 wing was precisely monitored throughout a scheduled SWISS Zurich-San Francisco flight. The data collected have enabled Lufthansa Technik to devise high-precision 3D airflow simulation models which will be used in the near future to develop the AeroSHARK riblet film for additional application to the Boeing 777’s wings, to tap further fuel and emission savings potential.

Carbon-neutral by 2050
The adoption of the new AeroSHARK technology is a key initiative in SWISS’s broader endeavours to minimize its carbon dioxide emissions. It also underlines the company’s commitment to promoting the use of innovative technologies. SWISS has set itself the objectives of halving its net CO2 emissions from their 2019 levels by 2030 and of making its business and operations carbon- neutral by 2050.

SWISS presents its first aircraft with Premium Economy Class
SWISS presented its first aircraft to be equipped with its new Premium Economy Class at Zurich Airport. The new class of travel complements SWISS’s existing Economy, Business and First Class products. SWISS Premium Economy Class travellers will enjoy greater privacy and enhanced inflight comfort. The new class will be gradually installed on all 12 of the airline’s Boeing 777-300ER long-haul aircraft, and is already bookable on all sales channels. In providing this new best-in-class Premium Economy experience, SWISS is further strengthening its positioning as a premium air carrier, particularly in the growing leisure travel sector.

SWISS presented its first aircraft to be equipped with its new Premium Economy Class at Zurich Airport. The aircraft, Boeing 777-300ER registration HB- JNH, will be deployed on SWISS’s Zurich-Miami services from the beginning of March onwards.

“Our SWISS Premium Economy Class is a top-quality standout product against our international competitors,” says SWISS Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Tamur Goudarzi Pour. “And I am delighted that we can now offer our customers this new best-in-class air travel experience. Our Premium Economy Class should be especially appealing to travellers who have flown Economy Class to date and would like to enhance their inflight comfort and convenience. So it also helps us
strengthen our premium-carrier positioning in the growing leisure travel market.”
In an initial step, SWISS’s new Premium Economy Class will be successively installed in all 12 of its Boeing 777-300ERs. After Miami, the next SWISS destinations to be served with SWISS Premium Economy-equipped aircraft will be San Francisco on the US West Coast from mid-April and São Paulo in Brazil from the end of April. Premium Economy will be available on all of SWISS’s Boeing 777-300ER routes from the end of May onwards.

During the introductory phase for the new class of travel, customers will be offered for-a-fee upgrades to SWISS Premium Economy if it is available on their flight, either when they check in or at the departure gate.

A newly-developed seat for more privacy and comfort
On the Boeing 777-300ER the new SWISS Premium Economy Class will offer 24 latest- generation seats from manufacturer ZIM. The comfortable seats, with fabrics provided by the Bern-based Lantal company, feature a hardshell design that enables them to be easily reclined at no inconvenience to the passenger behind. SWISS is the first airline in the Lufthansa Group to offer its customers this newly-developed ZIM Premium Economy seat. The new SWISS Premium Economy Class can also be experienced live and full-size as a virtual 3D model via Augmented Reality (AR).

A sustainable amenity kit and further benefits in the air and on the ground
For greater inflight comfort, SWISS Premium Economy Class travellers are given a complimentary amenity kit. The kit, which is provided by the Skysupply company, makes innovative use of kraft paper and paper pulp in its contents to minimize plastics use. “We put a strong emphasis at SWISS on making the whole travel chain as sustainable as possible,” explains CCO Tamur Goudarzi Pour, “because we don’t just want to be a premium carrier for our guests: we want to live up consistently to all our responsibilities to the climate and to society, too.”

SWISS Premium Economy Class travellers are also provided with quality noise-reducing headphones that will further enhance their experience of the inflight audio and video entertainment available on their 15.6-inch at-seat screen.

SWISS’s inflight culinary offering has also been specially modified to accommodate the new class of travel. SWISS Premium Economy guests receive a refreshing welcome drink and are offered a choice of three hot meals.

SWISS Premium Economy travellers can check in two pieces of baggage of up to 23 kilos each – twice the registered baggage allowance for regular Economy Class travel. They also enjoy discounted access to the SWISS Business Lounges at Zurich and Geneva airports and to Zurich Airport’s SWISS Arrival Lounge.

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