Aviation News

April 27, 2012

Airbus Rolls Out First New A320 With Sharklets

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Airbus has completed its first A320 aircraft built with Sharklet wing-tips, a design improvement expected to save operators large amounts of fuel.

While a couple of A320s have been retrofitted with Sharklets in the past for testing, the new plane marks the first one built from scratch with the new wing-tip design. Sharklets are an option on current generation A320s and will come standard on the A320neo.

Closer in design to the Winglets found on competing Boeing 737 models than the wing fences they’ll replace, Airbus Sharklets are expected to reduce fuel burn by up to 3.5 percent, which in turn will cut the average plane’s annual carbon dioxide emissions by about 770 tons.

Sharklets must be certified separately for each model and engine combination on which they are offered. To accomplish this, Airbus is building seven new airplanes, representing each A320 family model (A318, A319, A320, A321) and each engine option (CFM56 and V2500). After about 600 hours of flight testing, the first Sharklet-equipped, CFM56-powered A320 will enter service with an airline in the fourth quarter of this year.

Sharklet closeup. (Photo by Airbus)

Sharklet closeup. (Photo by Airbus)

An Airbus employee attaches a Sharklet to the wingtip of an A320. (Photo by Airbus)

An Airbus employee attaches a Sharklet to the wingtip of an A320. (Photo by Airbus)

An Airbus employee attaches a Sharklet to the wingtip of an A320. (Photo by Airbus)

Unique angle of an Airbus employee attaches a Sharklet to the wingtip of an A320. (Photo by Airbus)



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