Airbus’s Sharklets Gain EASA Approval

 - December 3, 2012, 12:36 PM
Airbus offers Sharklets on all new-build A320-family jets and plans to make them standard equipment on the A320neo family. (Photo: Airbus)

The European Aviation Safety Agency has issued certification of Airbus’s Sharklet wingtip device for CFM-powered A320 family narrowbodies, the manufacturer announced Monday. Airbus said it expects the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to issue its own approval “very soon.”

Airbus now expects its Sharklets to produce a fuel savings of roughly 4 percent—better than originally anticipated.  “The annual greenhouse gas emission reduction per aircraft equipped with Sharklets will be approximately 1,000 [metric] tons of CO2—that’s equivalent to taking 200 cars off the roads,” added Airbus executive vice president of programs Tom Williams.

For the flight test campaign, A320s with both CFM56 and IAE V2500 engines have recently taken to the skies with Sharklets. Airbus expects the flight test program to accumulate some 600 flight hours over a nine- to 10-month period. Certification of the remaining aircraft/engine variants with Sharklets will follow “in the coming months,” said. Delivery schedules call for Malaysian low-fare airline Air Asia to become the first customer to take Sharklet-equipped A320s.

Attached to the A320’s wingtip during the assembly process, the composite Sharklets stand 2.4 meters (7.87 feet) tall. Along with cutting fuel burn and emissions, they will add around 100 nm range and allow for a payload increase of up to 450 kilograms (992 pounds). Airbus plans to offer Sharklets as an option on new-build aircraft and as standard equipment on the A320neo family.