Avelo Airlines To Install Fuel-Saving Finlets On 737s


Avelo Airlines has partnered with Vortex Control Technologies (VCT) to install fuel/emissions-reducing finlets on its entire fleet of Boeing 737s.

Over the last two decades, we’ve seen aircraft being modified post-production to increase fuel savings and reduce carbon emissions. Looking at the Boeing 737s specifically, the next generation 737-700s, -800s and -900s have added blended and split scimitar winglets to reduce vortex drag, thus decreasing fuel burn, and by extension cutting down on emissions. Scimitar winglets can save between 1.6% to 2.2% of fuel burnt depending on the length of the flight.

Aero Design Labs (ADL) has also developed an aerodynamic drag-reduction system which includes extensions to the flap track fairings, as well as a reprofiled wing-to-body fairing kit. While this kit is still in development, the company expects to reduce emissions by as much as 1.5% once it is finalized.

Turning our attention to Avelo, the carrier has partnered with VCT to install custom finlets on the rear section of the aircraft fuselage in order to shape airflow to keep it attached to the body of the aircraft.

“Vortex Control Finlets use controlled vortex flow to reduce aircraft aerodynamic drag which translates into a reduction in aircraft fuel consumption. Normally the airflow around the aft body of an aircraft becomes separated which causes drag, reduces performance and increases fuel consumption. VC Finlets shape the aerodynamic flow on the aft body of an aircraft to re-attach the flow and reduce aerodynamic drag.

“Vortex Control Finlets have produced drag reductions in a range of up to 10% depending upon aircraft type. For aircraft with low wings, oval fuselages but appreciable after-body upsweep angles, Vortex Control Finlets can produce drag reductions in the range up to 4% depending upon aircraft type.”

Photo: Avelo Airlines

Avelo will be the first airline in the world to outfit these finlets on a Boeing 737 fleet, and expect to see a fuel savings of 1.4% across its entire fleet. The airline estimates an annual reduction of 11 million pounds of carbon emissions and 560,000 gallons of fuel. Based on today’s fuel prices, they can expect to save over $1 million yearly. It will certainly be helpful as the airline has long been in a deficit, turning its first pre-tax profit in Q4 2023.

These finlets seem like a win for the airline as they are very easy to install and only require less than one day to do so per aircraft, minimizing ground time. Avelo’s 2024 outlook has been positive so far, and it would be interesting to see how this modification helps with their bottom line in the long run.

Avelo Airlines Chairman and CEO Andrew Levy said, “We’ve set out to build a different and better kind of airline at Avelo. Investing in cost-saving innovations and technologies is a cornerstone of our business. We are excited to be the first airline in the world to install VCT Finlets on Boeing NG 737-800 aircraft. This investment will have a meaningful reduction in our annual fuel costs, while also significantly reducing our carbon footprint. It’s a win-win for our business and the planet. VCT is a great partner, and we are proud to have had the opportunity to collaborate with them on the development and testing of this game-changing innovation.”

[Featured Photo: Avelo Airlines ]

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