Chinese start-up Qingdao Airlines has taken delivery of its first aircraft, an Airbus A320 equipped with Sharklets, on lease from Hong Kong-based China Aircraft Leasing Company.
Qingdao Airlines will make its first commercial flight from its home base at Qingdao Liuting International Airport (IATA code TAO) in Eastern China to Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU) serving Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province in Southwestern China, later this month.
The airline’s first Airbus A320, which is powered by CFM56-5B engines, features a two-class cabin with eight business and 144 economy-class seats.
“We are very happy to receive our company’s ever first aircraft, an A320 equipped with fuel-saving Sharklets,” says Song Zuowen, chairman of Qingdao Airlines. “We are looking forward to starting operation with this brand new Airbus A320 to offer our passengers a new option for air travel in the fast growing Chinese market.”
Sharklets are made from lightweight composites and are 2.4 meters (7.87 feet) tall. They are an option on current-production A320-family aircraft and will be standard fit on all members of the new Airbus A320neo family.
According to Airbus, the Sharklet wing-trip devices offer operators a reduction of up to four per cent fuel burn on longer-range sectors and provide airlines with the flexibility of either adding an additional 100 nautical miles range or up to 450 kilograms in increased payload capability.
Qingdao Airlines placed an order for 23 Airbud A320-family aircraft in 2013.
To date, more than 10,200 Airbus A320-family aircraft have been ordered and over 6,000 delivered to operators worldwide.