Lufthansa’s 777F equipped with shark skin-mimicking riblets enters service

Copyright: Lufthansa Cargo

The first cargo aircraft modified with AeroSHARK surface technology, which mimics shark skin for better fuel consumption savings, enters service in Frankfurt, Germany.

The aircraft, registered as D-ALFA, belongs to Lufthansa Cargo. After it was modified, the aircraft re-entered service on February 3, 2023, on a flight LH8410 from Frankfurt to Bengaluru, India, to Chengdu, China, according to a Lufthansa statement issued on the same day.

AeroSHARK modification is jointly developed by Lufthansa Technik and BASF. It is a surface film that mimics the microscopic structure of shark skin. It consists of around 50 micrometers–sized ribs. Called riblets, these micro ribs allow for optimizing the airflow on an aircraft fuselage and engine nacelles. According to Lufthansa Technik, the technology allows for achieving 1% fuel and emissions savings.

While Lufthansa is now premiering the technology in airfreight, the aircraft is not the first Boeing 777 equipped with AeroSHARK to enter service. SWISS has been transporting passengers with a Boeing 777-300ER modified in this way since October 2022.

Lufthansa Cargo plans to gradually modify its entire 777 freighter fleet with the technology. SWISS is also having its twelve Boeing 777-300ERs modified with AeroSHARK. The airline’s second and third aircraft have already been modified and are being prepared to return to service.

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