Airbus’ New Fuel Saving Composite Wing Sharklets Get Approval
Airbus has achieved on schedule certification for its new fuel-saving Sharklets for the A320 with CFM engines. This certification received from the European air worthiness authorities (EASA) will be followed very soon by the US FAA.
Tom Williams, Executive Vice President of Programmes at Airbus says:
The certification of Airbus’ Sharklets is a milestone which paves the way for airlines to benefit from savings in fuel of around four percent. That’s better than we’d anticipated.” He adds: “The annual greenhouse gas emission reduction per aircraft equipped with Sharklets will be approximately 1,000 tonnes of CO2 – that’s equivalent to taking 200 cars off the roads.
For the flight test campaign, A320 Family aircraft with both CFM56 and V2500 engines have recently taken to the skies with Sharklets. When complete, this flight testing will represent approximately 600 flight-hours spread over 9-10 months. Certification of the remaining aircraft/engine variants with Sharklets will therefore follow in the coming months. By the end of 2012, Air Asia will become the first airline to take delivery of Sharklet-equipped A320s.
Due to the customer demand for Sharklets, all Airbus’ single-aisle final assembly lines (FALs) will be engaged in building A320 Family aircraft with Sharklets. These FALs are located in Toulouse, Hamburg and Tianjin and will soon be followed by an additional A320 FAL in Alabama USA.
Sharklets are large devices made from composites and are 2.4 metres tall. Attached to the A320’s wing-tip during the assembly process, they reduce fuel burn and emissions by improving the aerodynamics of the aircraft. As well as cutting airlines fuel bills, Sharklets will add around 100nm range and also allow increased payload capability of up to 450kgs. Sharklets are an option on new-build aircraft, and are standard on the A320neo Family.
To date, more than 8,600 Airbus A320 Family aircraft have been sold and more than 5,300 delivered to more than 350 customers and operators worldwide, making it the world’s best selling commercial jetliner ever. The A320 Family has the lowest operating costs of any single-aisle aircraft. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS company.