As part of Boeing’s life cycle approach to reducing environmental impact, and in response to requests from the Brazilian carrier and other customers, Boeing has introduced a chrome-free primer to complement chrome-free exterior decorative paint, which Boeing has used for more than a decade. In addition to simplified health and safety monitoring requirements, a chrome-free primer reduces the environmental impact of the paint and stripping process. Using a chrome-free primer eliminates the need for designated off-site disposal areas and special handling of paint waste and clean up. Such advantages also are of benefit when the airplane is prepared for repainting.
Chrome — technically known as hexavalent chrome — is considered a carcinogen and exposure levels are highly regulated.
Boeing will apply the chrome-free paint and primer on its models for in-service evaluation, with the intention of making it a standard option in the future. Sao Paulo-based GOL is the first airline in the Americas and the first 737 operator to take part in the evaluation program. In August a KLM 777-300 ER received a similar treatment which also has been used on the AH-64 Apache for several years.
GOL, which also controls the VARIG brand, is Latin America’s largest low-cost, low-fare carrier, offering more than 860 daily flights to 50 destinations connecting all of Brazil’s major cities, plus 10 major destinations in South America and the Caribbean. The airline operates a standardized fleet of Boeing Next-Generation 737 airplanes.