Airbus says it has achieved on-schedule certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for its new fuel-saving Sharklets for the A320 family with CFM56 engines.
According to the manufacturer, EASA European certification for CFM56-powered Airbus A320-family jets with Sharkets will be followed very soon by certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
“The certification of Airbus’ Sharklets is a milestone which paves the way for airlines to benefit from savings in fuel of around 4 per cent,” says Tom Williams, executive vice president of programs at Airbus. “That’s better than we’d anticipated.”
Adds Williams: “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 CFM56 engines and others with IAE V2500 engines have recently taken to the skies with Sharklets.
When complete, this flight testing will represent approximately 600 flight hours spread over 9 to 10 months. Certification of the remaining aircraft/engine variants with Sharklets will follow in the coming months, according to Airbus.
By the end of 2012, AirAsia will become the first airline to take delivery of Sharklet-equipped A320s.
Due to the very strong 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 final assembly line in Alabama in the U.S.
Sharklets are large wingtip devices made from composite materials and are 2.4 meters (7.87 feet) tall. Attached to the A320’s wingtips during the assembly process, they reduce fuel burn and emissions by improving the aerodynamics of the aircraft.
In addition to cutting airlines’ fuel bills, Sharklets will give each A320-family jet fitted with them about 100 nautical miles (185 kilometers) more range and will also allow increased payload capability of up to 450 kilograms (992lb).
Sharklets are an option on new-build A320-family jets, and are standard on the forthcoming Airbus A320neo family.