Thursday, October 31, 2013

Airbus offers wingtip retrofit

Close-up of A320 sharklet.
Airbus photo
Airbus plans to offer to retrofit fuel-saving wingtips on older versions of its A320 jets beginning in 2015. The upward-slanted wingtips, which Airbus calls sharklets, have become an increasingly common sight. By bending wingtips, planemakers can reduce drag and create more lift, reducing the consumption of fuel. Airbus says the wingtips cut fuel costs by up to 4 percent and increase range by up to 185 kilometers. Airbus is matching Boeing in making the wingtips available on older models as an option. Boeing also has an open-jawed design for the 737 MAX, where the wingtip is split at the end and angled both upwards and downwards. (Sources: Airbus, Reuters, 10/29/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala., that will produce its first A320 in 2016.