Airbus is studying the value of new wing tip devices for its Single Aisle Family as part of its commitment of continuous improvement. Airbus seeks to apply innovations to its products whenever it makes sense and brings real benefits to operators.
Wing tip devices are designed to improve wing aerodynamics and thus reduce fuel burn.
Two different new wing tip device types will be flight-tested on Airbus's A320 development aircraft in March. In addition, JetBlue Airways Corporation, the New York-based low-cost carrier, will also provide an aircraft for part of the flight test programme. Winglet Technology LLC, located in Wichita, Kansas, will provide one of the winglet designs for testing.
With the advent of more sophisticated analysis techniques, in particular in the context of A380 development, Airbus recently reviewed the application of more advanced methodologies to the A320 Family wing. This allows Airbus today to consider the application of new wing tip devices.
The first set of wing tip devices arrived at the A320 final assembly line in Toulouse at the beginning of February, with the second set due to arrive a few weeks later. During a series of flight tests in the coming months, a large set of parameters will be recorded. Depending on the outcome of a thorough analysis of the results achieved, Airbus will decide later this year on the way forward.
Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.