Let’s stick with the green theme today and take a look at easyJet’s new ecoJet concept. They released plans for a plane that would be 25% quieter, reduce CO2 emissions by 50% (though 10% will come from unrelated air traffic control improvements), and emit 75% less NOx than your run of the mill 737 or A320 series aircraft. Pretty good numbers, huh? You can read all about it on their website.
Take a look at this picture from the Flight Global article.
As you can see, the plan is to use a different type of engine to power this guy. The unducted fan is basically what you’d see inside an engine today but without the casing that you see on every other jet flying. According to easyJet, this will “offer unrivalled environmental performance due to their higher propulsive efficiency.” This type of engine has been studied by manufacturers for years, but it hasn’t made it to a commercial jet yet.
Another distinct feature you can’t really see from this picture is that the wing is swept forward to reduce drag. This is definitely an airplane that would catch your eye at the airport. You’ll have to wait until 2015 to see it though . . . that’s the targeted launch.
So will it actually get built?
Probably not in its current form. This was designed internally by easyJet, so you know once Boeing and Airbus get their hands on it, it would change significantly. This is basically just an easyJet PR grab to announce that they want the big manufacturers to make more efficient planes. Though this big splash may not actively accomplish anything, the signal it sends to Boeing and Airbus is that demand for a new plane is there, and it’s demand that ultimately gets a new plane built. Of course, they could have done this in private discussions with the manufacturers, but then they wouldn’t have gotten all the buzz and goodwill they’re likely to get from a more public announcement.