JetBlue Airways (New York) announced today that it has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Airbus to acquire 110 ship-sets of retrofit Sharklets for the airline’s in-service A320 aircraft. Deliveries are scheduled to start in 2014. Just last week, JetBlue Airways unveiled the first of its A320 aircraft to be outfitted with Sharklets. Sharklets are newly designed wing tip devices that are expected to improve the aerodynamics of Airbus aircraft and significantly cut fuel burn and emissions by up to four percent.
Sharklets are an option for the A320 Family aircraft and offer JetBlue the option of an additional 100 nautical miles range or increased payload capability of up to 1,000 pounds. Sharklets are standard on all members of the A320neo Family. JetBlue is not only the first carrier to fly with Sharklets in North America but, with the conclusion of this agreement and the retrofitting, will have the largest A320 fleet in the world with Sharklets. JetBlue’s future Airbus deliveries also will come outfitted with Sharklets.
Bottom Copyright Photo: JetBlue was an early volunteer with Airbus for testing two early winglet concepts.
JetBlue Airways (New York) will later this month become the first airline in the world to install Airbus “Sharklets” winglets as a retrofit on “Blue Yorker” (N821JB). All new A320-family aircraft rolling off the production line – including the seven aircraft JetBlue is taking delivery of this year – will come with Sharklets already installed on the production line.
JetBlue plans to celebrate this milestone with an event at JFK’s Hangar 81 on Thursday, February 21.
According to the airline, “Sharklets produce better fuel efficiency for the aircraft – up to three percent less fuel burn on long-haul flights – providing fuel savings, range flexibility (reducing those winter-wind west bound fuel stops and arbitrary seat caps) while resulting in a smaller environmental footprint. Further, the Sharklets will allow JetBlue to compete against other airlines who are currently flying more efficient aircraft (notably the 737-800).”
JetBlue’s Tech Ops Crew at JFK will retrofit five of the latest A320 deliveries, which were delivered from Airbus with reinforced wings that support Sharklets. The airline anticipates the retrofit will take about four days to complete. Older A320s (which make up the majority of our fleet) will have to undergo a more extensive program, including strengthening the interior of the wing structures before the Sharklet can be installed. This retrofit will take up the better part of two weeks, and will be conducted by a Business Partner under the close supervision of Airbus and JetBlue.
Copyright Photo: JetBlue has been an advocate of the winglet installation on both the forward- and retro-fitted A320s since 2006 when the airline participated in a project with Airbus and tested two designs on a this future JetBlue aircraft. One of the designs is pictured on Airbus A320-232 F-WWDL (msn 2755) which became N636JB on delivery.