Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has signed a contract with Airbus to equip 17 of its future A320s on order with Airbus’ fuel saving Sharklets. The new wingtip devices measure 2.5 metres tall, replace the aircraft’s current wingtip fence and will reduce fuel burn particularly over longer sectors.
Deliveries of the Sharklet-equipped A320s to Etihad Airways will begin in the third quarter of 2013.
The Abu Dhabi based carrier started taking delivery of its 20 A320s on order in the last quarter of 2011. Once in service, the A320s equipped with Sharklets will make Etihad Airways’single-aisle fleet one of the most modern and fuel efficient in the Middle East.
Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan, said: “In today’s climate, our airline is fully focused on maximizing the environmental efficiency of the entire fleet.
“By growing our fleet with the modern, fuel efficient Sharklet-equipped A320, we’ll be able to reduce fuel burn which is central to our goal of growing profitability in the years ahead.”
Today, Etihad Airways’ fleet of Airbus aircraft comprises 50 Airbus passenger aircraft (17 A320 Family, 33 A330/A340 Family) and two A330-200 Freighter aircraft. The additional 43 aircraft to be delivered from existing orders, including 10 A380s, will grow Etihad Airways’ total Airbus fleet to 95 aircraft.
“We are very happy to see Etihad join the increasing number of carriers selecting our new fuel-saving Sharklets”, said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “The A320 already has the best economics and highest reliability of any single-aisle aircraft today. To further boost the aircraft’s productivity by adding the Sharklet, makes good business sense.”
Offered as an option on new-build aircraft from the end of 2012, the devices increase payload-range and improve take-off performance. The new wing tip devices will result in around 3.5 percent reduced fuel burn over longer sectors, corresponding to an annual CO2 reduction of around 1,000 tonnes per aircraft.
The A320 Family (A318, A319, A320 and A321) is recognised as the benchmark single-aisle aircraft family. Nearly 8,400 Airbus A320 Family aircraft have been ordered and more than 5,000 delivered to more than 360 customers and operators worldwide, making it the world’s best-selling commercial jetliner ever.