Lufthansa Cargo To Equip 777 Freighters With Fuel-Efficient Surface Technology

Lufthansa Cargo 777F
Credit: Rob Finlayson

Lufthansa Cargo said it would equip all its Boeing 777 freighters with AeroSHARK innovative surface technology supplied by Lufthansa Technik and BASF starting in 2022, in an effort to improve fuel efficiency and help meet its long-term sustainability targets.  

Lufthansa Cargo said that Lufthansa Technik and BASF had made a breakthrough in using nature as a role model to reduce aerodynamic drag and  fuel consumption through a joint project, using AeroSHARK, a surface film that mimics the fine structure of a shark’s skin. The technology will be rolled out on Lufthansa Cargo’s entire freighter fleet beginning in in 2022.  

Europe’s aviation industry as a whole is looking at ways to reduce its environmental impact in order to fit in with longer-term carbon emissions targets set by the European Commission (EC), which has pledged to become carbon-neutral by 2050. Operators are investing in areas such as electric and hybrid propulsion and sustainable aviation fuels as scrutiny on the sector’s contribution to climate change grows. 

The AeroSHARK surface structure consists of riblets measuring around 50 micrometers which imitate the properties of sharkskin and therefore optimize aerodynamics, meaning less fuel is needed, Lufthansa Cargo said.  

For its 10 Boeing 777F freighters, Lufthansa Technik estimates a drag reduction of more than one percent, or annual savings of around 3,700 tons of kerosene and just under 11,700 tons of CO2 emissions, or the equivalent of 48 individual freight flights from Frankfurt to Shanghai. 

“This will help us to achieve our goal of climate neutrality by 2050,” said Christina Foerster, a Lufthansa board member in charge of sustainability. “Responsibility for the environment and society is a key strategic topic for us.” 

“The investments we have made in rolling out AeroSHARK at Lufthansa Cargo consciously reaffirm our commitment to the United Nation’s sustainable development goal on climate action,” Lufthansa Cargo CEO Dorothea von Boxberg said.  

In its cooperation with BASF, Lufthansa Technik is responsible for the material specification, approval by the aviation authorities and performance of aircraft modifications carried out as part of regular maintenance layovers. The company will obtain a Supplemental Type Certificate for the 777F from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, which is required for operation.

Helen Massy-Beresford

Based in Paris, Helen Massy-Beresford covers European and Middle Eastern airlines, the European Commission’s air transport policy and the air cargo industry for Aviation Week & Space Technology and Aviation Daily.