Lightweight ULDs becoming popular with airlines

Rising fuel costs are driving the popularity of light-weight and ultra-lightweight ULDs (unit load device) as airlines are now focusing on weight reduction because fuel and emission costs have added around 10 per cent more to total fuel costs, according to a senior executive of a major manufacturer of ULDs. Wong Joon San reports.

“Many airlines have made a start on lightweight, while others have yet to do so,” according to Bob Rogers, VP Asia- Pacific at Nordisk Aviation Products. “A 55 kilogramme LD3 and an eight kilogramme cargo net are amongst these, so airlines can find value for money whenthey do decide to spend,” Rogers says.

A recent survey of airlines by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for the World Cargo Symposium in March this year listed lightweight ULDs as their 6th highest priority for capital spending in 2010.

Working in close cooperation with Nordisk’s customers, the company has developed solutions for almost every ULD challenge and need. The company’s latest innovation is the super light Nordisk Ultralite AKE (LD3) container, which offers a weight reduction of around 25 per cent per container, compared to traditional aluminium containers.

Similarly, Integrated Technologies, Inc. (Intec), has also successfully designed, built and FAA-certified a high-durability ProWall ULD LD3, and is now in the process of developing the next generation of lightweight and ultralightweight ProWall ULDs.

“Because of rising fuel costs, fuel savings through reduced weight have become even more important and paves the way for lighter designs,” a company spokesman said.