On October 21st, which is Southwest Airlines annual media day, they announced the launch of a green prototype airplane which will be used to test more eco-conscious materials and products in their travel environment. Southwest hopes that through the establishment of this prototype plane, they will be able to settle on a way to make their cabin more eco-friendly while still offering their customers the same level of comfort that they’re used to.
While their primary focus is upon using eco-friendly products and materials on board the plane, such as an InterfaceFlor carpet which is designed to withstand wear, is 100% recyclable, and requires minimal maintenance and cleaning; or the aluminum, rather than plastic passenger rub strips that will reduce waste; their choices will also help to reduce emissions. Southwest will accomplish these goals by selecting materials that will reduce the plane’s weight, and in turn, the amount of gas used and emissions generated during flights.
Simply by making more conscious choices, Southwest has managed to reduce the Green Plane prototype’s weigh substantially compared to their typical designs. In replacing their leather seats with new seat covers, they are able to reduce each seat’s weight by two pounds; though they haven’t quite settled on whether to use e-Leather or IZIT leather, so they’ll be testing each material on opposite sides of the aisle. Changing their life vest pouch material has also saved one pound per seat and the foam fill used in the seats creates an additional weight reduction.
The Green Plane prototype by Southwest Airlines is looking for feedback, and any green materials that are picked as winners just might be rolled out into the rest of their airplane fleet, and they will indefinitely act as a model for their competition looking to earn a more eco-conscious status with their travel services.