If adopted, the new “green plane” undergoing tests by Southwest Airlines would save the company about $10 million a year in fuel costs, while reducing emissions.
The airline also is kicking off a more robust onboard recycling program Nov. 1.
The plane, which is a modified Boeing 737-700, features reduced weight, as well as environmentally friendly features, including the carpet and seat covers, as well as life vest pouches, according to a press release.
All combined, the new features amount to a weight savings of about five pounds per seat, or about 472 pounds per plane. The reduced weight equates to about 9,500 fewer gallons of jet fuel per plane, per year, according to China View.
The new plane features InterfaceFLOR carpet, which is installed in sections. Incorporating sectional carpet means that replacing the aisle carpeting, which currently is one piece of carpet, can be done only in sections that need replacing. The carpet sections are to be returned to Interface for recycling after use.
The plane also features two types of leather replacement seat covers that offer reduced weight and less environmental impact than traditional leather. The seats also feature a lighter weight foam fill from Garnier PURtec.
The plane’s life vest pouch, meanwhile, weighs a pound less and creates more room under the seat.
Starting Nov. 1, Southwest Airlines is starting a co-mingled recycling program, which means more recyclable materials can be diverted from landfills. The new recycling program is the result of 18 months of testing.