From 2022, Lufthansa Cargo will equip all Boeing 777 freighters with a form of surface technology – known as AeroSHARK – that improves fuel efficiency and helps airlines to reach sustainability targets
The lower the frictional resistance of an aircraft in the air, the lower the fuel consumption – and using nature as a role model, the aviation industry has been intensively researching ways to reduce aerodynamic drag for many years. In a joint project, Lufthansa Technik and BASF have succeeded in making a surface film that mimics the fine structure of a shark’s skin.
It is set to be rolled out on Lufthansa Cargo’s entire freighter fleet from the beginning of 2022, making the aircraft more economical and reducing emissions.
The surface structure, consisting of riblets measuring around 50 micrometres, imitates the properties of sharkskin and therefore optimises the aerodynamics on flow-related parts of the aircraft. This means that less fuel is needed overall. For Lufthansa Cargo’s Boeing 777F freighters, Lufthansa Technik estimates a drag reduction of more than 1%. For the entire fleet of ten aircraft, this translates to annual savings of around 3 700 tons of kerosene and just under 11 700 tons of CO2 emissions, which is the equivalent of 48 individual freight flights from Frankfurt to Shanghai.