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airberlin first airline to develop new software for aerodynamic optimisation

As part of its eco-efficiency programme, airberlin has developed a new measuring tool aimed at optimising air flow. No such software has ever appeared on the market before; this innovation demonstrates once again the pioneering work of airberlin in the field of fuel efficiency.

Small blemishes, rough paintwork or even a one millimetre gap between the landing gear doors: any small irregularity on the surface of the aircraft affects its aerodynamics and leads to greater air resistance, which in turn means higher fuel consumption.

airberlin’s new tool guides aircraft technicians through a standardised procedure, inspecting the entire surface of the aircraft and helping them measure and classify any imperfections. The software also calculates how much additional fuel consumption will result from that increased air resistance. It then generates a list of priorities for the maintenance schedule of each individual aircraft, so the areas concerned can be made good during subsequent maintenance. For instance, the additional fuel consumed in the course of a year due to the loss of paint from an area of 150 by 50 centimetres is sufficient for two flights from Berlin to Dusseldorf. The additional fuel consumed in the course of a year due to a slightly projecting seal on the movable doors for landing gear is sufficient for a flight from Nuremberg to Dresden. This tool will allow airberlin to save that fuel in future.

"In 2012 we set a record of just 3.4 litres of fuel per 100 passenger kilometres flown. But we are still not satisfied and we are constantly working on further potential ways of saving fuel. This new tool is another step towards our goal, which is the three-litre mark", says Felix Genze, airberlin’s Vice President Performance Improvement.

So far airberlin has used the new software to measure the surface irregularities on 15 aircraft. This inspection will gradually be extended to the entire airberlin fleet and will then be repeated periodically.

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