Saving Energy, Water and Time by Keeping Our Air Fleet Clean – FedEx

Keeping a fleet of vehicles clean is a necessary, but important task for businesses whose calling card is their livery and the condition of which reflects directly on the brand – good or bad. But when your fleet includes aircraft, the task takes on a whole new level of complexity.

After all, it’s hardly possible to call into the local car wash with a 767.

Maintaining the cleanliness of planes is imperative because a film of dirt may mask cracks or cause fittings to wear excessively. And during the winter months, the de-icing process attracts more dirt to the fuselage and so the colder it gets, the more cleaning is required, which of course comes at a cost, to both the bottom line and to the environment.

That’s why FedEx Express has introduced a new, more eco-friendly fuselage cleaning procedure for the 13 aircraft serving Europe from its Roissy-Charles De Gaulle hub in Paris, France. Using a ‘moist-cleaning’ method that does not leave water on the tarmac developed and implemented by a local company (UDDS), the new procedure drives a number of benefits:

  • Energy saving: the cleaner the fuselage, the more aerodynamic the aircraft, reducing fuel consumption. Crews can also manually clean aircraft where they park, saving on towing vehicle fuel and the electricity to power automated washing equipment.
  • Water saving: the eco-friendly process uses 100 times less water than with conventional methods. In real terms this means 100 litres of water are used and disposed of instead of 10,000.
  • Time saving: maintenance can be carried out at the same time as cleaning, meaning aircraft are grounded for a shorter period of time.

We think this a great example of aligning citizenship goals with business goals to create the greatest impact – a ‘win-win’ situation for FedEx and for the environment.

To learn more about FedEx sustainability efforts, visit

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