By Andy Sambidge
Abu Dhabi airline signs contract to equip 17 Airbus planes with Sharklet technology
Etihad Airways said on Wednesday it has signed a contract with Airbus to equip 17 of its future A320s on order with Airbus' fuel saving Sharklets.
The new wingtip devices measure 2.5 metres tall, replace the aircraft's current wingtip fence and will reduce fuel burn particularly over longer sectors.
Deliveries of the Sharklet-equipped A320s to Etihad Airways will begin in the third quarter of 2013, the carrier said in a statement.
The Abu Dhabi based carrier started taking delivery of its 20 A320s on order in the last quarter of 2011.
Once in service, the A320s equipped with Sharklets will make Etihad Airways' single-aisle fleet one of the most modern and fuel efficient in the Middle East, the statement said.
Etihad Airways president and CEO, James Hogan, said: "In today's climate, our airline is fully focused on maximising the environmental efficiency of the entire fleet.
"By growing our fleet with the modern, fuel efficient Sharklet-equipped A320, we'll be able to reduce fuel-burn which is central to our goal of growing profitability in the years ahead."
An additional 43 aircraft to be delivered from existing orders, including 10 A380s, will grow Etihad Airways' total Airbus fleet to 95 aircraft.
"We are very happy to see Etihad Airways join the increasing number of carriers selecting our new fuel-saving Sharklets," said John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer.
"The A320 already has the best economics and highest reliability of any single-aisle aircraft today, so to further boost the aircraft's productivity by adding the Sharklet, makes good business sense," Leahy added
Offered as an option on new aircraft from the end of 2012, Sharklets increase payload-range and improve take-off performance.
The new wing tip devices will result in around 3.5 percent reduced fuel burn over longer sectors, corresponding to an annual CO2 reduction of around 1,000 tonnes per aircraft.