News, Transport

Delta Air Lines orders LEDs for its massive fleet

Flying toward maintenance savings: LED lighting should help reduce maintenance costs and enable Delta to keep its planes in the air longer, rather than bringing them in for lamp replacements.

Delta Air Lines’ commercial tag line is ‘Keep Climbing.’ If it had a lighting tag line, it could be ‘Keep Shining,’ as the Atlanta-based carrier – one of the world’s largest – is retroffiting its entire fleet of 1,224 aircraft with LED tube lighting meant to last a lot longer than the fluorescent tubes they are replacing.

That’s according to the website VR World.

‘In order to improve operating and maintenance costs of its whole fleet, Delta Air Lines pulled something not a whole lot of people expected: an LED lights retrofit order for the whole fleet, first 772 so called ‘mainline’ planes, with an option for 452 additional planes,’ VR wrote. (The 452 are for a regional group called Delta Connection).

The $8 million project with French supplier Madelec Aero will take three years to complete.

Electricity savings should be minimal, given the fairly similar energy efficienies of fluorescent and LED tubes. But it could still help the bottom line in an industry of razor thin margins where even a scintilla of cost reduction could provide a competitive edge. ‘Our take is in 0.0XX%, which could still mean saving of up to $50k per aircraft per year,’ VR noted.

But the real advantage could come from longevity, and thus from a reduction in maintenance costs. VR pointed out that the Madelec T800 tubes are rated at 5 years, versus 6 months for the conventional fluorescents. The lower weight of the LEDs could also help reduce fuel consumption.

No word on whether Delta might use the LEDs to deliver internet, a la Li-Fi!

Photo is from Gietje via Wikimedia