Airbus to launch energy-saving “sharklet” wingtips

DUBAI - Air New Zealand will be the launch customer for eight-foot tall, fuel-saving wingtips that Airbus SAS is introducing on all its future A320-family jetliners, the European aircraft-maker announcecd today on the opening day of the Dubai Airshow.

By Bruce Stanley

Published: Sun 15 Nov 2009, 6:21 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:25 AM

The vertical wingtips, which Airbus calls “sharklets,” can save airlines 4.5 per cent in fuel costs for each plane, Airbus chief salesman John Leahy told a news conference.

“People wonder why we didn’t bring these out years ago. We wanted to get it right,” said Leahy, Airbus’ Chief Operating Officer for Customers.

Airbus rival Boeing Co. already offers vertical wing-tips on its competing line of 737 aircraft. Leahy dismissed those as “old-fashioned” and insisted that Airbus sharklets would trim a plane’s maintenance costs and carbon emissions while also enabling it to carry an additional 20 passengers for the same fuel load.

The sharklets will enter service starting in 2012, and Airbus is pricing them at $900,000 per plane, Leahy said.

Airbus currently equips A320s with smaller wingtips.

The Middle East is an attractive market for the sharklets, and Etihad Airways, for one, is “very excited” about them, Leahy added.

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