Thomas Cook Group has signed a firm order for 12 Airbus A321-200s as a first step in its single-aisle fleet harmonization and renewal plan,...

Thomas Cook Group has signed a firm order for 12 Airbus A321-200s as a first step in its single-aisle fleet harmonization and renewal plan, which is based on the A320 family.

The new A321s will be fitted with Airbus’ new fuel-saving wing-tip devices, known as Sharklets. The aircraft will be powered by CFM56-5B-series engines and the engine deal is worth more than $200 million, according to CFM International.

CFM also says the CFM56-5B engines for Thomas Cook Airlines’ new A321s will incorporate an engine-performance improvement package, which will reduce engine fuel consumption by 0.5 per cent and lower maintenance costs by 1 per cent.

In addition to the firm order, Thomas Cook Group plans to lease Airbus A320-family aircraft from operating lessors, according to Airbus

“In selecting the Airbus A320 family for our fleet modernisation, we have identified significant operational savings, particularly from maintenance and improved fuel efficiency. The A321 with Sharklets more than fully meets our expectations for range and economics,” says a Thomas Cook Group spokesman.

Thomas Cook Airlines is harmonizing its single-aisle fleet around the Airbus A320 family. As of January 2011 the carrier operated 10 A320s and four A321-200s and it has ordered 12 more A321-200s, to be fitted with Airbus' new Sharklet wing-tip devices, which cut drag and thus reduce fuel burn. The new A321-200s, as well as additional A320-family aircraft which Thomas Cook is planning to lease from aircraft-leasing companies, are likely to replace the nine Boeing 757-200s and two Boeing 757-300s that Thomas Cook has been operating

“The A321 with Sharklets offers a leap in operational and environmental performance alongside the widest, most comfortable cabin in its market,” says John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating officer, sustomers.

Thomas Cook Group plc is one of the world’s leading leisure-travel groups, operating in five geographic segments and in 21 countries.

Sharklets are large wing-tip devices that will enhance the eco-efficiency and payload-range performance of the A320 family, according to Airbus. The manufacturer says Sharklets are expected to result in at least 3.5 per cent reduced fuel burn over longer sectors, corresponding to an annual reduction of around 700 metric tons of carbon dioxide per aircraft.

The development is part of a larger, continuous-update program which Airbus conducts for the A320 family.

Nearly 7,000 A320-family aircraft have been sold and more than 4,500 delivered to date to more than 320 customers and operators worldwide.

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