Virgin Australia has become the first airline in the country to install split scimitar winglets on its Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

The winglet is an Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) product and retrofit of the existing blended winglets.

It offers benefits such as fuel savings and carbon emissions reductions.

APB sales and marketing director Craig McCallum said: “Virgin Australia is always looking for innovative ways to create a better environment, having launched the world’s first government-certified airline carbon offset scheme, and now starting Australia’s first split scimitar winglet operations.”

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With the first winglet installation in Christchurch, Virgin Australia expects to annually reduce fuel consumption to 200,000l and carbon dioxide emissions to 515t per aircraft.

APB chief commercial officer Patrick LaMoria said: “The wingtip vortex spins the same way Down Under as it does north of the equator.

“Without split scimitar winglets, you’re just flushing jet fuel savings down the drain.”

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APB has secured orders exceeding 2,200 systems since the launch of split scimitar winglets programme for the Boeing next-generation 737. More than 1,200 aircraft are currently operating with this new technology.

The company is a Seattle-based joint venture (JV) comprising Aviation Partners and Boeing.

In a separate development, Virgin Australia said that it will not introduce any new airplane to the Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet unless they are completely satisfied with the aircraft’s safety.

The airline currently does not hold any Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in its fleet.

In May 2015, Boeing announced the addition of split scimitar winglets as a standard feature of its new Boeing Business Jets (BBJ).