@Rob- Actually 10-12% reduction in fuel burn is huge! For example the winglets that are being retrofitted to airliners create a 2-3% reduction in fuel burn. That seems minor but the airlines are willing to pay about $300k per plane for the retrofit. (Someone may have more accurate cost figures).
Fuel efficiency improvements mean less fuel cost (#1 expense for airlines), and also allows more payload and longer range routes. Additional payload capability adds up to several hundred dollars revenue per pound, annually for a 737-class airplane.
Given that Kenish, I can understand why 10 to 12 percent is a significant number. It just seems small comparred to the kind of efficiency gains we're anticipating from the auto industry for the coming years. I can see it's a matter of scale.
Yes, Chuck, that's a significant advance in less than 15 years. What do you think the changes are? Do you expect it to be gradual? Will it require creating a different mix of models to emphasize smaller, more efficient cars? What affect will that have on the buying public? Would a Republican administration strip away those requirements?
Rob, 10-12% is a lot for commercial aircraft, compared to cars, for several reasons, primarily the math: a commercial plane is a lot bigger, and has a zillion more parts, which are sourced from many different component manufacturers. Also, a lot of materials lightweighting has already been done in aircraft, for several decades now, so there's proportionately less and less that can be changed or redesigned from that standpoint. Lightweighting efforts in much smaller and simpler cars are much more recent, so there's still a lot of proportionately bigger changes that can be made, and many of the big gains in cars have come from lightweighting materials and related redesigns.
The improvements in effeciency have been incremental in the 737. The passenger capacity, and altitude have increased significantly over the years. I imagine it is 40% more efficient than the old 737-100. An improvement of 10%-12% above the last generation is quite an accomplishment.
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