14 Feb 2011
By Chloe Turgis
Easyjet is to apply a special paint to some of its planes as part of an unusual method to try and save money.
The 'revolutionary' coating is said to reduce drag when planes are flying, thus helping to cut down on fuel consumption.
Easyjet is the first commercial airline to trial the ultra-thin high-tech coating, which has only been used on US military aircrafts so far.
The budget airline is to test the paint on eight of its aircrafts over a twelve-month period. It will then compare their fuel usage with that of its other planes.
The paint is only one micron thick (i.e a millionth of a metre), and it will add just four ounces to the total weight of the planes. But according to coating distributor TripleO, it could help cut fuel consumption by up to 2%, meaning that Easyjet could save around £14m in a year if the polymer was applied across the company’s fleet.
The technology used is said to cut down fuel usage by reducing the build-up of debris on the plane's surface, thus minimising friction and drag – and the need for fuel.
Chief executive Carolyn McCall said: "If we can find new ways of reducing the amount of fuel used by our aircraft, we can pass the benefits on to our passengers by offering them low fares and a lower carbon footprint.
“Innovation and efficiency is at the DNA of everything Easyjet has ever done. This plays to both of those things. We don't know it will definitely cut 1% to 2% off our fuel bill, but that is what we are being told is possible."