EasyJet outlines vision for eco-friendly airliner

Farnborough Air Show » 2008
July 16, 2008, 7:32 AM

Don’t let airlines tell you how to design airplanes, EasyJet strategic planning manager Hal Calamvokis cautioned aerospace industry delegates at last week’s NACRE conference.

The result, as in the case of BOAC and the VC-10, can be capabilities that are used only on their most demanding routes, increasing weight and cost for features that most operators do not need. Or they can compromise designs for their own commercial reasons; Lufthansa, Calamvokis recalled, pressured Fairchild Dornier into reducing the fuselage diameter of the Dornier 728 so that low-cost rivals would not be able to fit six-abreast seats.

So why should anybody listen to EasyJet? “We are a pioneer,” Calamvokis said. “I think our business model will dominate the short haul market, and certainly in terms of aircraft orders. We keep our aircraft seven to 10 years then sell them, or sell them and lease them back when they are new, so we will have a big requirement towards the end of the next decade to replace the current fleet.”

Last year EasyJet unveiled its own EcoJet concept for a future single-aisle aircraft. The model, shown here on the Royal Aeronautical Society’s stand (Hall 3 Stand C18), features open rotors for fuel efficiency.

It also has forward-swept wings, both to encourage laminar flow for aerodynamic efficiency in the air and to enable the airline to use the center as well as the forward and aft doors for passenger access on the ground. Forward-swept laminar flow wings, Calamvokis pointed out, have come to be the dominant configuration for gliders.

In terms of the ACARE targets for emission reductions, he said, easyJet’s view is that carbon dioxide must be the highest priority. Accordingly, it would maintain the ACARE goal of a 50 percent cut while relaxing the oxides of nitrogen reduction target from 80 percent to 50 percent and settling for “lower perceived noise” rather than the 50 percent cut targeted by ACARE. 

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