by Devesh Agarwal
United States low cost carrier JetBlue has retrofitted the first Airbus A320 worldwide (N821JB), with the new fuel saving wing-tip ‘Sharklet’ devices. The carrier was able to carry out the retrofit quickly since the aircraft wing had already been modified to accommodate the increased weights of ‘Sharklets’.
JetBlue will deploy this and other ‘Sharklet’ fitted A320 aircraft on their trans-continental US routes; between New York JFK and Oakland and San Francisco, and between Boston and Los Angeles, Oakland and San Francisco. About 1% of these flights have to make technical refuelling stops, mostly in Las Vegas or Salt Lake City, when there are excessive headwinds. The carrier hopes to eliminate almost all these stops with the aid of the new fuel saving winglets.
|Sharklets reduce wing-tip vortexes reducing drag|
‘Sharklets’ are to the Airbus A320 family, what the AVP Blended Winglets are to the Boeing 737NG (-700, -800, 900ER) family.
The ‘Sharklet’ devices help conserve fuel thus giving the airline option of an additional 100 nautical miles range or increased payload capability of up to 454 kgs. (1,000 pounds).
At present Airbus is still delivering some A320 family aircraft with the old wing-tip fence winglets.
From 2014 onwards, the airframer has indicated, from 2014 onwards, it expects only ‘Sharklet’ fitted aircraft to be delivered.
This is a time-lapse video of the retrofit.