Triple seven meets tripleO
British Airways is to extend a trial of an innovative paint coating designed to improve fuel efficiency in a move that could save the airline millions of pounds in fuel costs.
The tripleO coating bonds with the surface materials – such as paintwork, bare metal, leading edges and even rivets – to which it is being applied. It creates a perfectly smooth finish, forming a barrier to prevent dirt building up on the aircraft and improving aerodynamics.
It was applied to a British Airways Airbus A318 aircraft which operates exclusively on the London City to New York route. During the year long trial period, the aircraft used less fuel than a second Airbus A318, which did not have the coating.
The coating will now be applied to a Boeing 777-200, with data being collected during a further trial period. It is hoped that applying the coating to larger aircraft will result in an even greater fuel efficiency improvement, with the airline hoping to save in excess of £100,000 during the 777 trial.
British Airways’ director of engineering, Garry Copeland, said: “We have been exploring a number of initiatives to improve fuel efficiency. tripleO not only delivers a significant saving, it also improves aircraft appearance. We look forward to assessing its impact on a larger aircraft.”
As well as improving fuel efficiency, tripleO also improves the aircraft appearance, and leads to prolonged paint life. Further environmental benefits come from less frequent cleaning and painting.
Ross Thornley, brand director at tripleO, said: “We are delighted to see the results from more live tests. To prove such a substantial return on investment for our clients especially British Airways is the result of many years of hard work. Our extensive research and development in our product coating, application methods and the wind tunnel tests over the last four years is now paying dividends for all our clients.”
Before applying the tripleO coating, the aircraft is thoroughly cleaned using a ‘polarising’ solution.
This allows the coating to bond with the surface of the aircraft and creates a smooth finish. The coating lasts approximately two years, before being reapplied.