PARIS Dec 3 European planemaker Airbus said it
won approval from European authorities to deploy drag-reducing
wingtip devices that will allow airlines to cut fuel bills by
more than it had expected.
The so-called sharklets, which are made from composite
materials and are 2.4 metres tall, are upward-slanting wingtips
designed to help aircraft fly further on the same amount of
"The certification of Airbus' sharklets is a milestone which
paves the way for airlines to benefit from savings in fuel of
around 4 percent," Tom Williams, executive vice president of
programmes at Airbus, said in a statement on Monday.
"That's better than we'd anticipated."
The approval applies to Airbus' A320 best-selling family of
planes powered by CFM56 engines from CFM International, a
venture between General Electric and France's Safran
Airbus has also been testing the sharklets on A320s powered
by International Aero Engines' V2500 engine.
"Certification of the remaining aircraft/engine variants
with sharklets will therefore follow in the coming months,"
Airbus added that it expects the green light from the
European Aviation Safety Agency to be followed "very soon" by
the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
Airbus and U.S. arch-rival Boeing are focusing on
wing enhancements as key selling points for their latest
revamped models, with tens of billions of dollars of sales for
both firms at stake each year.