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Sun 15 Nov 2009 03:01 PM

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Mideast jet fuel 'discount' dismissed as rumour - Airbus

Claims that region's airlines pay less for fuel not true - plane maker's COO.

Claims that Middle East airlines pay less for fuel than their global competitors were dismissed by a top Airbus executive as the company launched a new cost saving device at Dubai Airshow on Sunday.

"I think fuel efficiency is important anywhere you are and the idea that you pay less for fuel in the Middle East is more of a rumour spread by competitors," John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer – Customers, told Arabian Business on the sidelines of an Airbus press conference.

Leahy was launching the new Airbus “Sharklet” large wingtip devices, which is designed to save at least 3.5 percent fuel burn on the A320 range of airplanes.

"Fuel burn reduction is real economic value whether you are in US, Europe or the Middle East," added Leahy.

The new device is estimated to lead to an annual CO2 reduction of around 700 tonnes for aircraft that adopt it.

Aircraft using the device will also be able to accommodate up to 20 more passengers and will see revenues up by ten percent as a result of the fuel saving potential, Airbus said.

Due to be delivered around the end of 2012, Leahy confirmed that the first confirmed customer is Air New Zealand

The device will cost $900,000 per aircraft, although Leahy said the device would pay for itself after three and a half years in fuel efficiency.

“Sharklets are not just part of Airbus’ response to addressing environmental issues and rising fuel costs, but they also enhance aircraft overall performance,” said Leahy.

This latest development has been part of the larger continuous improvement programme for the A320 Family which is supported by an annual investment in excess of 100 million euros each year, Airbus said in a statement.

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