Environmentally Friendly New Jet Planned

More Aeronautical fun:

British low-cost airline easyJet has unveiled a design for a radically different-looking short-haul airliner that it says would be highly environmentally friendly and could be built by 2015.

From LiveScience:

Easyjet eco jet

Neat, no? NASA (the first A stands for “Aeronautics”, something we are inclined to forget) found in 2004 that a 1% increase in cirrus clouds over the US was probably due to air traffic (in particular the trails of condensation left by the jet engine – Brits in particular will be familiar with this, as on colder morning white trails are easily visibly across the sky). These allow heat from the Sun in, but then don’t let it (from the Earth) back out – contributing to global warming.

Those doohickies at the back (aeoronautics is not my bag – I have a colleague who could do well with that sort of thing) take care of some of that, while being 25% quieter (quote. I would have said “25% less God-awfully deafening and noise-polluting”, but that’s just me). Less weight in its airframe contributes to a lowering of CO2 emissions, as does an improvement in ‘air traffic control technology and design’. Which isn’t within easyJet’s purview, really.

However.

Robert Culleymore, an analyst at Aviation Economics, said easyJet’s projections were over-optimistic. “To get to a 50 per cent reduction would require a fairly revolutionary breakthrough,” Mr Culleymore said. “Both Airbus and Boeing are already in the process of designing replacements for the type of plane that easyJet flies, but the 50 per cent target would also require huge strides forward from engine manufacturers.”

Engines also aren’t really within easyJet’s purview. However, back to Robert Cullymore,

“Easyjet’s statement serves two purposes,” Mr Culleymore added. “It’s always good to ask for as much as you can get from manufacturers, but secondly, environment concerns are now at the forefront for aviation companies from a public relations perspective.”

So it can’t hurt. If only for the effect on contrails and noise pollution, I think the open-rotor design has a lot going for it. Airframe weight, engines, etc. appear to be on the agenda of the industry anyway, as I found yesterday. Every little bit helps, surely.

I’ll leave you with the last line from the Independent’s coverage of the story.

A spokesman for Ryanair, the Irish short-haul carrier that is easyJet’s biggest rival, dismissed the ecoJet idea, and said it had already invested in more modern, cleaner planes.

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