CHICAGO, July 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A United Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft retrofitted with the new Split Scimitar Winglet took its maiden test flight Tuesday in Everett, Wash. This advanced winglet improves on the existing blended winglets United currently has on its next generation 737 fleet.
In January, United served as the launch customer for this innovative winglet when it made a firm commitment with Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) to retrofit its 737-800 fleet. In June, United announced its commitment to also retrofit its 737-900ER fleet. Using a newly patented design, the program consists of retrofitting United's Boeing Next Generation 737 Blended Winglets by replacing the aluminum winglet tip cap with a new aerodynamically shaped "Scimitar"™ winglet tip cap and by adding a new Scimitar-tipped ventral strake.
"We are always looking for opportunities to reduce fuel expense by improving the efficiency of our fleet. The Next-Generation 737 Split Scimitar Winglet will provide a natural hedge against rising fuel prices while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions," said United's Vice President of Fleet Ron Baur. "We appreciate APB's focus in helping United become even more fuel efficient."
This new winglet design demonstrates significant aircraft drag reduction over the basic blended winglet configuration United uses on its current fleet. United expects the new Split Scimitar winglet to result in approximately a two percent fuel savings for the 737. Once the Split Scimitar Winglets are installed, the combined winglet technology installed on United's 737, 757, and 767 fleet is expected to save the airline more than $200 million per year in jet fuel costs.
United will begin retrofitting its 737-800 and 737-900ER fleet with the new winglet beginning early next year, once testing and FAA certification of the winglets are complete.
High-resolution images are available for download at unitedcontinentalholdings.com.
United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,446 flights a day to more than 370 airports across six continents. In 2012, United and United Express carried more passenger traffic than any other airline in the world and operated nearly two million flights carrying 140 million customers. United is investing in upgrading its onboard products and now offers more flat-bed seats in its premium cabins and more extra-legroom economy-class seating than any airline in North America. In 2013, United became the first U.S.-based international carrier to offer satellite-based Wi-Fi on long-haul overseas routes. The airline also features DIRECTV® on 200 aircraft, offering customers more live television access than any other airline in the world. United operates nearly 700 mainline aircraft and has made large-scale investments in its fleet. In 2013, United will continue to modernize its fleet by taking delivery of more than two dozen new Boeing aircraft. The company expanded its industry-leading global route network in 2012, launching nine new international and 18 new domestic routes. Business Traveler magazine awarded United Best Airline for North American Travel for 2012, and readers of Global Traveler magazine have voted United's MileagePlus program the best frequent flyer program for nine consecutive years. According to the 4th annual Switchfly Reward Seat Availability Survey published by IdeaWorksCompany in May 2013, United has the most saver-style award-seat availability among the largest U.S. global airlines. United is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 194 countries via 27 member airlines. More than 85,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com or follow United on Twitter and Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.
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