Alaska Airlines Partners Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator Program

(06 Jun 2021)
Alaska Airlines has become the latest partner of
Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program and will flight test about 20
technologies on a new 737-9.

Scheduled to begin this summer, the
flights will test a new halon-free fire-extinguishing agent that
significantly reduces effects on the ozone layer, evaluate an
engine nacelle designed to reduce noise and assess cabin sidewalls
made from recycled material, among other projects.

In five months of ecoDemonstrator flight tests,
Boeing and Alaska will work with nine other partners to test new
technologies. After the tests are complete, the airplane will be
configured for passenger service and delivered to Alaska.

“We have a long history of working with Boeing to
advance aviation technology, safety and fuel efficiency,” said
Diana Birkett Rakow, Alaska Airlines’ vice president, public
affairs and sustainability. “Alaska Airlines flies to some of the
most beautiful and geographically diverse regions in the world and
we are committed to finding ways to reduce climate impacts across
our network. This work with Boeing to accelerate innovation on the
ecoDemonstrator program enables us to contribute to a more
sustainable future for our global community.”

Since 2012, the ecoDemonstrator program has taken
nearly 200 promising technologies out of the lab and tested them in the air to address challenges
for the aviation industry and improve the passenger experience.

“Boeing is committed to continually improve air
safety and the environmental performance of our products,” said
Stan Deal, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO. “We’re
proud to collaborate with our hometown customer and other partners
around the world this year to make flying more sustainable.”

The
program’s technologies include:

– Testing a new fire extinguishing agent for
aircraft that significantly reduces effects on the ozone layer.
This material is intended to replace Halon 1301, which is no
longer being produced.

– Collaborating with the U.S. National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration to measure greenhouse-gas levels in the
atmosphere to support the agency’s climate modeling and long-term
forecasting.

– Evaluating acoustic lining concepts within the
engine nacelle that may reduce noise on current engines and will
inform designs for next-generation models.

– Recycling carbon composite material from Boeing
777X wing production into a cabin sidewall panel. This durable,
light material would reduce fuel use and carbon emissions, and
supports Boeing’s goals for sustainable manufacturing.

Boeing’s current and future airplanes leverage a
number of technologies evaluated in previous ecoDemonstrator
testing, including:

– Advanced Technology winglets on the 737 MAX family
that reduce fuel use and emissions.

– iPad apps that provide real-time weather and other
data to pilots, improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2
emissions. The apps complement digital analytics services
Boeing offers to help airlines optimize fleet utilization.

– A camera system on the new 777X that will enhance
safety by helping pilots avoid obstacles on the ground.

“Boeing put additional emphasis on sustainability
in 2020 to align with our stakeholder and business priorities as
well as our values,” Boeing Chief Sustainability Officer, Chris
Raymond, said. “Through our collaboration with industry partners,
the ecoDemonstrator program is a great example of our commitment
to work together to make flying safer and more sustainable for
current and future generations.”

ecoDemonstrator test flights are flown on a blend
of petroleum-based and sustainable aviation fuel. SAF is in
regular use today, reduces life-cycle CO2 emissions by up to 80%,
and offers the most immediate and greatest potential to reduce
emissions over the next 20 to 30 years in all commercial aviation
markets.

In January this year, Boeing committed to make
sure its commercial airplanes are capable and certified to fly on
100% SAF by 2030.

The company also plans to work with regulatory
authorities and across the industry to raise the current 50%
blending limit for expanded use of SAF.

Boeing’s 2018
ecoDemonstrator 777 Freighter made history as the world’s first
commercial airliner to fly on 100% sustainable fuel.

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