Aviation Partners Boeing (APB), the joint venture between Aviation Partners Inc. and Boeing, expects to win FAA and European Aviation Safety approval for its split-scimitar winglets modification on Boeing 737 NG models, including the BBJ and BBJ3, by year-end, following recent certification on the 737-800 aircraft (BBJ2).

The modification changes the aerodynamics of the existing BBJ blended winglet. The split-scimitar winglets reduce drag and increase range by 2.5% to 3%, or 200 nm or more for long-range operations, APB says. “The upgrade will essentially give a BBJ with seven auxiliary tanks the range of an eight-aux-tank airplane,” says Gary Dunn, API vice president of sales and marketing.

The retrofit involves adding a new scimitar-tipped large ventral strake and beefing up internal winglet structure and replacing aerodynamically shaped scimitar tip caps.

The scimitar winglet design was first flight-tested on a BBJ in 2012, confirming the feature’s basic performance. The modification is already in service on a number of aircraft operated by major airlines. APB launched the program in January 2013 with an order from United Airlines, estimating that the new winglet design could result in a $250 million fleet-wide savings per year for the carrier. FAA certified the split-scimitar winglet for the 737-800/BBJ2 in February.