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22/01/2009 – KLM’s Flying Blue Paint Goes Eco-Green
There is a lot of talk about ‘going green,’ and I try and discuss this topic when I can on Flying With Fish. Airlines are experimenting with eco-friendly fuel (Air New Zealand and Continental), some are moving towards more eco-friendly meals (China Airlines) and for the past few months KLM has begun to switch over their famous blue paint scheme to a an environmentally sustainable based paint.
Some airlines have stripped their aircraft of paint in the past to save on fuel and operating costs, as well as reduce weight. American Airlines has famously kept its aircraft bare for many years, but KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has been blue for…well it seems like forever.
The new paint developed by KLM and German paint maker Mankiewicz, uses 15% less paint when applied to the aircraft, which in turn allows the aircraft to weigh less, which results in less fuel burned and ultimately less aircraft CO2 emissions produced. Not only does this new paint reduce carbon emissions, but also it lasts longer than conventional aircraft paint, allowing aircraft to be in service longer between paint-jobs. The average service time for painting an aircraft with this new paint is two-days less than with conventional paints.
An additional benefit of the new eco-friendly paint s that the aircraft covered in the new paint can be degreased with soap and water, rather than use of an inflammable and aggressive solvent. The average degreasing of a commercial jet uses 800 liters of this solvent (of course a 747-400 uses far more solvent than a 737-800).
Currently KLM is the only airline using this new paint system, which they helped create, but hopefully it should spread to KLM’s sister airline Air France (Air France-KLM are one company, operating two airlines), and global partner Northwest Airlines , as NWA’s planes are repainted into Delta colours, following the NWA-Delta merger.
If you’d like to further help reduce your carbon footprint as you travel the world, seek out airlines that share your eco-friendly outlook! Right now KLM is leading the way being named the most eco-sustainable airline in the world for four years in a row by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.