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Southwest Gets More Fuel-Efficient While Poised To Fly Internationally in 2014

@denschaal

Jan 03, 2014 7:30 am

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With new, international destinations slated to begin in 2014, Southwest will need this fuel savings and all of the efficiencies it can find.

— Dennis Schaal

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With Southwest poised to begin flying to some of AirTran’s international destinations in 2014 and 2015, the airline has taken steps to get a little more fuel-efficient and to lighten its carbon footprint a bit.

Southwest has agreed to retrofit 52 of its Boeing 737-800s and another 33 of the aircraft slated to be delivered this year with Split Scimitar Winglets, Aviation Partners Boeing announced.

Southwest already uses Blended Winglets, which are said to generate annual fuel savings of 3% per aircraft, and the Split Scimitar Winglets are said to trigger annual fuel savings reaching 5%.

In the airline business, that 2 percentage point difference can translate into significant savings. In addition to being fuel efficient, these new winglets also lead to reduced emissions, said Aviation Partners Boeing, a joint venture of Boeing and Aviation Partners.

All of this occurs as Southwest is slated to introduce a new international reservations system in 2014, and begin flying to some of merger partner AirTran’s destinations, such as Bermuda, Cabo, Montego Bay, Nassau/Paradise Island, Ontario and Punta Cana.

The Split Scimitar Winglets are awaiting FAA certification, expected later in January.

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