Southwest Airlines Green Plane is Eco-Friendly First in Airline Industry

Cheryl Phillips's picture

Southwest Airlines has long been an efficiently run company with a focus on an environmental commitment. Southwest strives to be as productive as possible while minimizing waste and protecting the Earth and now has a new "green plane" to add to their innovative approach to business and respect for the environment.

Southwest Airlines Green Plane combines efficiency, environmentally responsible products, customer comfort, and reduced waste and weight. Southwest calls it "a flying testament to our philosophy that environmental decisions make good business sense."

The initiatives of Southwest Airlines Green Plane will equate to a weight savings of almost five pounds per seat. The reduction in weight will save fuel and reducing emissions, along with adding recyclable elements to the cabin interior and reducing waste.

From the outside, the Green Plane looks just like any other Southwest Boeing 737-700 aircraft. However, the interior boasts cutting-edge, environmentally-friendly products. Southwest has dedicated one aircraft—WN222 to be the Green Plane. The 737-700 has been in service for four years and is hopefully going to start a trend in the aviation industry by going green.

What are some of the 'green' changes on Southwest Airlines Green Plane?

InterfaceFlor Carpet - reduces labor and material costs because it is laid in carpet squares, thus eliminating the total replacement of areas such as aisles. The carpet is totally recyclable and the manufacturing process is dedicated to being completely carbon neutral.

Seat covers - offers more than twice the durability than the current leather seats as well as a weight savings per seat of almost two pounds. They are recyclable and have an environmentally- friendly manufacturing process.

Life Vest Pouch - more environmentally friendly because it offers a weight savings of one pound per passenger. The smaller pouch creates more room under the seat for carryon items.

Foam Fill - A lighter weight fill from Garnier PURtec in the back of the seats that reduces weight while providing increased customer comfort.

Wind Screen - bulkhead product that lasts longer than the current leather product, thus reducing labor costs and waste.

Aisle Rub Strips - switching from plastic to aluminum will help with durability, which reduces waste, as well as being recyclable

See the new Southwest Airlines Green Plane Video here.

The airplane has the Southwest's Spirit color scheme, but does have a special “Green” decal on the nose. The Flight Attendant will make an announcement letting the customers know that they are on the Green Plane. Additionally, there will be an informational slip in each seat back pocket, and printed information on the overhead bins with “Did you know” statements about Southwest's Green commitments.

According to Southwest Airlines, the new Green Plane will function as a “flying laboratory” for the eco-friendly products with evaluation and testing ongoing. The usage results and Customer feedback will be shared with the product vendors and will aid Southwest in making a decision on how best to move forward with these green products.

Environmental Stewardship is a responsibility Southwest takes seriously and the environmental commitment Southwest Airlines makes every day is incredible. Southwest Airlines Green Plane is just one of many environmental initiatives Southwest is involved in, making it truly a innovative company.

Cheryl Phillips

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