Airbus has debuted its new “Sharklet” large wingtip devices, specially designed to enhance the eco-efficiency and payload-range performance of the A320 Family.
Offered as a forward-fit option, Sharklets are expected to result in at least 3.5 percent reduced fuelburn over longer sectors, corresponding to an annual CO2 reduction of around 700 tonnes per aircraft.
The A320 will be the first model fitted with Sharklets, which will be delivered around the end of 2012, to be followed by the other A320 Family models from 2013.
Air New Zealand is the launch customer for the Sharklets which are specified for its future A320 fleet.
Air New Zealand CE Rob Fyfe said his airline “recently decided to move to an all A320 fleet for narrow-body operations on domestic and short-haul international routes. 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.”
Airbus Chief Operating Officer – Customers, John Leahy said payload-range benefits include either a revenue payload increase of around 500kg or an additional 100nm range at the original payload.
The Sharklet installation also keeps the A320 Family within the ICAO ‘Class C’ (wingspan less than 36m) and will result in higher available takeoff weights, notably from obstacle-limited runways.
Moreover, where runway performance is not ‘limiting’, operators should profit from a reduction in average takeoff thrust (with consequent savings in engine maintenance costs by around two percent), while communities will also appreciate even lower takeoff noise. Other benefits are the enhanced climb performance and higher initial cruise altitude.
This latest development has been part of the larger continuous improvement programme for the A320 Family which is supported by an annual investment in excess of 100 million euros each year, Airbus says.
To this end, Airbus has conducted a thorough campaign over several years to evaluate improved large aerodynamic devices – not only using Airbus’ company-owned A320 test aircraft, but also with its advanced computational-fluid-dynamics (CFD) simulation-tools.
Pic: Airbus “Sharklet”