SeaTac’s Alaska Airlines has equipped 19 gates at Sea-Tac Airport with diesel-powered heating and cooling units in a move designed to save some 1.1 million gallons of jet fuel every year.
The diesel units will run instead of aircraft auxiliary power units, small turbines that traditionally power a jet’s heating, ventilation and cooling systems on the ground. The diesels will use 10 percent of the fuel that the APUs do, according to the airline.
Alaska intends to equip gates at other major airports in Anchorage, Los Angeles, Portland and San Francisco with the diesel units, increasing annual fuel savings to 2.4 million gallons.
The new units cost about $65,000 each, but their payback period is just 18 months based on fuel savings.
The airline also announced that it has fitted fuel-saving winglets on all of its Boeing 737 fleet that are capable to handling the vertical wing extensions.
Those blended winglets, made by Seattle’s Aviation Partners Boeing, save about 100,000 gallons of fuel per year per plane.