AirAsia (AirAsia.com) (Malaysia) (Kuala Lumpur) yesterday (December 21) received its first Airbus A320-200 with the new Sharklets winglet. The pictured A320-216 F-WWIC (msn 5428) became 9M-AQQ on the handover. 9M-AQQ is also painted in the new 2012 livery for AirAsia. It becomes the first A320 with Sharklets to enter revenue service. Airbus issued the following statement:
Airbus has delivered the first A320 equipped with Sharklets to AirAsia, which becomes the first operator of the new fuel-saving large wing tip devices. Sharklets are an option on new-build A320 Family aircraft, and are standard on all members of the A320neo Family.
Sharklets are made from light-weight composites and are 2.4 meters tall. These newly designed wing-tip devices reduce fuel burn and emissions by improving the aerodynamics of the aircraft significantly. Cutting airlines’ fuel bills by around four percent, Sharklets will offer the flexibility to A320 Family operators of either adding around 100 nautical miles more range or allowing increased payload capability of up to 450 kilograms.
“We are extremely proud to be the first airline in the world to take delivery of an A320 fitted with Airbus’ new, fuel saving Sharklets,” said Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, Group Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia . “AirAsia has a long-standing, special relationship with Airbus and as we grow our network with our all A320 fleet, these new wing tip devices will contribute to fulfilling our goal of being the most efficient, innovative low cost airline in the world.”
“As our biggest A320 Family airline customer, it’s very fitting that AirAsia is the first carrier to benefit from the four percent fuel saving our new Sharklets deliver,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “AirAsia’s vision is to make is possible for everyone to fly and now with their Sharklet-equipped A320s they can assure their passengers that they are also travelling on board the world’s most environmentally friendly single-aisle aircraft.”
Due to the very strong customer demand for Sharklets, all Airbus’ single-aisle final assembly lines (FALs) will be engaged in building A320 Family aircraft with Sharklets. These FALs are located in Toulouse (France), Hamburg (Germany) and Tianjin (China) and will soon be followed by an additional A320 FAL in Mobile (Alabama, USA).
AirAsia, the largest low cost airline in Asia is also Airbus’ largest A320 Family airline customer. The carrier recently placed a new order with Airbus on the 13th December 2012 for 100 more A320 Family aircraft including 36 A320ceo aircraft with Sharklets. Altogether, AirAsia has ordered 475 single aisle aircraft from Airbus, comprising 264 A320neo and 211 A320ceo. Over 100 aircraft have already been delivered to the airline and are flying out of its bases in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Manila and Tokyo.
Copyright Photos: Airbus.