Airbus ‘Sharklet’ Wingtip Design Reduces Fuel Use 3.5%

by | Nov 16, 2009

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AirbusA320Airbus is developing new “Sharklet” wingtip devices for its A320 aircraft that are expected to cut fuel burn by 3.5 percent and reduce 730 metric tons of CO2 emissions per plane annually, reports AIN. This also translates into a fuel savings of $220,000 annually per aircraft, according to the article.

Air New Zealand will be the first to incorporate the Sharklets on its A320s by the end of 2012. The aircraft manufacturer expects to expand the program to A321, A319 and A318 aircraft, reports AIN.

John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating officer, told AIN that the 3.5 percent efficiency improvement is on top of the 1-percent benefit already provided by the current wingtip design features.

Leahy also stated that in addition to addressing carbon emissions and fuel costs, the new design also improves overall aircraft performance.

Other benefits of the Sharklet installation include higher available takeoff weights, about a 2 percent savings in engine maintenance costs as a result of lower average takeoff thrust and lower noise, according to the article.

Earlier this year, Airbus announced that up to 5,000 new A320 aircraft would be equipped with longer-life LED lighting on the wingtips, saving about $30,000 per aircraft over the life of the plane.

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