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Etihad, Jettainer save fuel with new ULD

Etihad Airways and Jettainer have partnered to launch a new lightweight, double-width Unit Load Device that will lead to millions of dollars in fuel savings.

The ULD is known as type ALF. Compared to traditional double-width ULDs that typically weigh 430 pounds, the new ALF model is almost 34 percent lighter.

This will make for a potential weight saving of 255 pounds per flight.

Etihad Airways will take delivery of 250 of the new ULDs this year, and the airline estimates that the weight reduction will result in fuel savings of US$350,000 in 2013 and US$1.1 million in 2014.

“The introduction of these lightweight double-width units into our passenger and cargo operations is evidence of our innovative approach to sustainable logistics and ensures that our services remain among the best in the world,” David Kerr, Etihad Airways vice president cargo, said. “Being more efficient in our operations, reducing our CO2 impact, lowering our fuel burn and optimizing our costs will continue to drive our business in the years ahead, and we look forward to working with Jettainer and its manufacturers to identify further opportunities for weight savings initiatives.”

The ULDs are projected to cut 1,100 tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2013 and 4,000 tonnes in 2014.

Zodiac Aerospace Air Cargo Equipment developed and is manufacturing the ULDs.

“We will continue to work with partners such as Etihad Airway and Zodiac Aerospace Air Cargo Equipment in order to further improve our products,” Alexander Pluemacher, managing director of Jettainer, said. “We aim for exploring additional weight-saving opportunities, which will enable us to enrich our customer’s ULD fleets by even lighter units in the future.”

Photo caption: The new double-width ULD awaits loading at Frankfurt International Airport.