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With soaring travel demand, shaky supply chains, and the pace of certification slowing the arrival of new jets and environmental pressure, tweaking aging aircraft is back en vogue.

While the attention of the aviation industry is rightfully turned to making major leaps in fuel consumption and carbon emissions, small improvements can still add up to reduce the environmental impact of each flight. Southwest Airlines recently became the first operator to introduce a kit of fuel saving modifications across a handful of its older 737s.

The first of five Southwest aircraft with the recently FAA-certified kits for the Boeing 737-700 from Aero Design Labs went into service on February 25 on an intra-Texas flight between Dallas-Love Field and El Paso — hearkening back to an older approach to improving efficiency.

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Jon Ostrower is Editor-in-chief of The Air Current. Prior to launching TAC in June 2018, Ostrower served as Aviation Editor for CNN Worldwide, guiding the network's global coverage of the business and operations of flying. Ostrower joined CNN in 2016 following four and half years at the Wall Street Journal. Based first in Chicago and then in Washington, D.C. he covered Boeing, aviation safety and the business of global aerospace. Before that, Ostrower was editor of the award-winning FlightBlogger for Flightglobal and Flight International Magazine covering the development of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and other new aircraft programs from 2007 to 2012. Ostrower, a Boston native, graduated from The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs with a bachelor's degree in Political Communication. He is based in Seattle.

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