A new milestone has been achieved in Airbus’ application of “Sharklets” to its single-aisle product line with this week’s rollout of the company’s first new-build A320 fitted with the large wingtip devices, which will reduce fuel burn and enhance aircraft performance.
The aircraft – Airbus’ 5,098th A320 Family jetliner produced to date – is one of seven that will participate in the certification test campaign for production-standard Sharklets that begins next month, logging some 600 flight hours.
Results of the tests will lead to certification of these fuel-saving devices on aircraft with both engine versions offered for the current A320 Family: CFM International’s CFM56 and the V2500 from International Aero Engines. These in-flight validations follow the initial flight test campaign performed beginning last November with Sharklets equipped on Airbus’ no. 1 A320 testbed aircraft.
Sharklets are offered as an option on members of the A320 Family now in production, with the first aircraft scheduled to enter airline service from the fourth quarter of 2012. The wingtip devices will be standard on Airbus’ new A320neo Family.
Sized at approximately 2.5 metres tall, Sharklets are specially designed for the Airbus A320 Family and will reduce fuel burn by up to 3.5 percent – resulting in an annual CO2 reduction of some 700 tonnes per aircraft.