Alpha Star Aviation Services of Saudi Arabia has become the first Airbus ACJ320 customer for an in-service retrofit of Sharklets, upswept fins attached to the wingtips that save about 4 per cent in fuel consumption while also enhancing performance and appearance. It is also the first Middle East customer for the in-service retrofit of Sharklets on an Airbus corporate jet.
Alpha Star plans to fit Sharklets to an Airbus ACJ320 that is already in operation, during 2016. The in-service retrofit comprises local structural reinforcement of the outer wing, a software upgrade to several flight-control computers, and replacement of the existing wingtips by Sharklets.
It is also the first Saudi Arabian corporate jet customer for FlySmart, Airbus’ performance calculation software for ipad. Flysmart can improve payload by a tonne on challenging missions, via more precise take-off performance calculation, and delivers more consistent results in degraded conditions, such as when landing on contaminated runways.
“We pride ourselves on having a modern and efficient fleet, and adding Sharklets to our Airbus ACJ320 and adopting FlySmart will help us to keep it that way, as well as improving our day to day operations,” says Alpha Star Chief Executive Officer Salem Al Muzaini. “Adding Sharklets to our Airbus corporate jet also helps us to preserve the value of our investment in the longer term, and they pay for themselves relatively quickly through the savings that they deliver,” he adds.
Airbus delivered its first corporate jet with production-line fitted Sharklets in October 2013, and they are already in widespread airline service.
“Sharklets are the latest and most visible signs of something that we have been doing ever since Airbus was born, which is to innovate using the latest technology whenever it brings worthwhile benefits,” comments Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers, John Leahy. “It’s this approach, building on innovative new designs, that ensures that Airbus continues to deliver the most modern aircraft family to its customers,” he adds.
Derived from the world’s most modern aircraft family, Airbus corporate jets feature, as standard, many innovations that other business jets lack or only offer as options, such as the simplicity and savings of fly-by-wire controls, extensive use of weight-saving carbonfibre, and time and cost-saving centralised maintenance.
This heritage means that Airbus corporate jets benefit from excellent reliability, because airliners are designed to perform many flights a day in rigorous conditions. Airbus corporate jet operators are also backed by a worldwide support network that serves more than 500 customers and operators, as well as services tailored to their needs.
Airbus’ ACJ320 Family, comprising the ACJ318, ACJ319, ACJ320 and ACJ321, is unique in delivering the widest and tallest cabins of any business jet, while fitting into similar ramp space.
It is complemented by widebodies such as the ACJ330, ACJ340, ACJ350 and ACJ380, which deliver even more comfort, capacity and capability, including “nonstop to the world” range.
More than 170 Airbus corporate jets have been sold to date, and they are flying on every continent, highlighting their versatility.