Airbus has launched its new ‘sharklet’ wingtip device for A320 Family aircraft, which promise “at least” a 3.5 per cent fuel burn improvement over longer flights, with an order commitment from Air New Zealand.
One of the 14 A320s recently ordered by Air New Zealand will be the first aircraft delivered with the ‘sharklet’ in late 2012. A319 and A321 models will be delivered with the new winglets, which are now an option for new aircraft, from 2013, while Airbus is yet to decide whether to offer the winglets on the A318.
“The new sharklets will enable our Airbus fleet to benefit from lower fuel burn and carbon emissions, both across Air New Zealand’s domestic network and especially on the longer trans-Tasman sectors,” said Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe in a November 15 statement.
Airbus says the winglets will deliver the 3.5 per cent fuel burn reduction “over longer sectors”, or payload range benefits of a 500kg increase in revenue payload or a 100nm range improvement. For obstacle limited runways the ‘sharklets’ will allow higher available takeoff weights, or from where runway performance is not limiting, allow a reduction in average takeoff thrust.
“Sharklets are not just part of Airbus’s response to addressing environmental issues and rising fuel costs, but they also enhance aircraft overall performance,” said Airbus chief operating officer – customers, John Leahy.