First winglet-equipped B767 enters service

US carrier American Airlines has become the first carrier to introduce a winglet-equipped Boeing 767-300ER into passenger operation. The aircraft, N389AA, operated flight AA078 from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to London/Heathrow, departing the US city on March 8 and arriving at the UK international gateway the following morning. The wide-bodied jet was fitted with Aviation Partners Boeing’s (APB) Blended Winglets at American’s Maintenance and Engineering organisation at Kansas City, Missouri last year and has been performing flight trials to secure certification of the performance enhancing devices since.

The increased lift provided by the winglets – without a corresponding increase of engine power – improves fuel efficiency. Each modified airframe is expected to save up to 500,000 gallons (1.9 million lit) of fuel annually and American plans to install winglets on its entire 58-strong B767-300ER fleet by 2011. This will generate annual fuel savings of up to 29 million gallons (110 million lit).

“The fuel savings and emissions reductions that we will achieve with the winglets are one more step in our efforts to both moderate costs and shrink the impact we have on our environment – two goals that go hand-in-hand,” said Bob Reding, American’s Executive Vice President (Operations).