Airbus has delivered the first A320 equipped with Sharklets to AirAsia, which becomes the first operator of the new fuel-saving wing tip devices.
Sharklets are an option on new-build Airbus A320-family aircraft, and are standard on all members of the A320neo family.
The A320 family’s Sharklets are made from lightweight composite materials and are 2.4 meters (7.9 feet) tall. These newly designed wing-tip devices reduce fuel burn and emissions by improving the aerodynamics of the aircraft significantly.
Cutting airlines’ fuel bills by around 4 per cent, according to Airbus, Sharklets will offer the flexibility to A320-family operators of either adding around 100 nautical miles (160 kilometers) more range or allowing increased payload capability of up to 450 kilograms (992lb).
“We are extremely proud to be the first airline in the world to take delivery of an A320 fitted with Airbus’ new, fuel saving Sharklets,” says Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, group chief executive officer of AirAsia. “AirAsia has a long-standing, special relationship with Airbus and as we grow our network with our all A320 fleet, these new wing-tip devices will contribute to fulfilling our goal of being the most efficient, innovative low cost airline in the world.”
Due to what Airbus says is very strong customer demand for Sharklets, all of the manufacturer’s single-aisle final assembly lines (FALs) will be engaged in building A320-family aircraft with Sharklets. These FALs are located in Toulouse in France, Hamburg in Germany and Tianjin in China; and will soon be followed by an additional A320 FAL in Mobile, Alabama.
AirAsia, the largest low-cost airline in Asia, is also Airbus’ largest airline customer for the A320 family. On December 13, AirAsia ordered 100 more A320-family aircraft, including 36 A320ceo (current engine option) aircraft with Sharklets and 64 A320neo-family jets.
Altogether, AirAsia has ordered 475 single-aisle aircraft from Airbus, 264 of them A320neos and the other 211 being A320ceo-family aircraft.
More than 100 aircraft have already been delivered to the airline and are flying out of its bases in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Manila and Tokyo.
To date, close to 8,900 A320-family aircraft have been ordered and more than 5,300 delivered, to more than 380 customers and operators worldwide.