Southwest and the return of the tiny aircraft tweak

Airlines re-embrace razor-thin incremental carbon-cutting updates.

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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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