Airlines join Boeing’s team to work on eco-friendly plane

Boeing and NASA say they’ll collaborate with Seattle-based Alaska Airlines and four other major airlines on the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project, which aims to put Boeing’s innovative X-66 braced-wing aircraft design through flight tests in the 2028-2029 time frame.

The X-66A makes use of a concept known as the Transonic Truss-Braced Wing, or TTBW, which features ultra-long, ultra-thin, drag-reducing wings that are stabilized by diagonal struts.

The demonstrator aircraft will also incorporate parallel advancements in propulsion systems, materials and system architecture. When all those factors are combined, the single-aisle X-66A should reduce fuel requirements and carbon emissions by up to 30% relative to today’s domestic airplane fleet.


Alaska Airlines breaks up with Delta

Alaska-Delta graphic
A graphic from happier times touted the partnership between Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines. (Alaska Airlines Graphic)

Breaking up with old flames is part of getting married, and that’s what Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines are doing in the wake of Alaska Air’s acquisition of Virgin America.

Effective May 1, Alaska and Delta will sever their frequent-flier and codeshare partnerships. After April 30, customers who belong to Delta SkyMiles won’t be able to redeem their miles in Alaska’s Mileage Plan, and vice versa.

Seattle-based Alaska said it’s making some enhancements in its mileage program, including lowering the bar for award travel and bumping up earnings for flights in business or first class. Also, starting today, Alaska Mileage Plan members can earn and redeem miles on Virgin America flights, and vice versa.

Part of the motivation for the Delta breakup has to do with the Alaska-Virgin America combination, but only part. This split has been in the works for quite some time.

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