Spring Airlines, a low-cost carrier based in Shanghai, China, has signed an agreement with Airbus for Sharklet retrofit of its A320 aircraft in operation to become the first Chinese airline to perform retrofit of the latest fuel saving device.
Thanks to this aerodynamic upgrade, Spring Airlines’ retrofitted aircraft will benefit from a reduction in fuel costs by up to 4 per cent, an annual 900t reduction in CO2 emissions, an increased mission range by up to 100 nautical miles and improved performances at high elevation airports.
Spring Airlines took delivery of its first A320 with Sharklets in September 2013. Since then the operator has been evaluating the effect of Sharklets on the operational performance of its fleet of six Sharklet-equipped A320s. Based on the proven operational advantage observed from more than 8500 accumulated flight hours, Spring Airlines has decided to select Sharklets for all its new deliveries and now has decided to expand the option to its in-service fleet.
“We are delighted to be the first airline in China to perform Sharklet retrofit to our aircraft in operation,” said Wang Zhenghua, Chairman of Spring Airlines. “As a low-cost operator, Spring Airlines is committed to offering our passengers with the most efficient means of transportation but keeping the fares at a level which is affordable to the general public. We are willing to invest in new technologies that help us further reduce the operational cost of our all Airbus A320 fleet, which is already a benchmark of the industry,” Wang added.
“We are delighted to see Spring Airlines, the first low cost carrier in China, to take another pioneering step this time to become the first Chinese airline for Sharklet retrofit,” said Rafael Gonzalez-Ripoll, Chief Operating Officer, Airbus China. “We will provide Spring Airlines with the strongest support for the retrofit and for the smooth operation of the airline’s all Airbus fleet,” he added.
Sharklets are made from light-weight composites and are 2.4 meters tall. They are an option on new-build A320 Family aircraft and standard on all members of the new A320neo family. They offer operators up to four per cent fuel burn reduction on longer range sectors and provide the flexibility of either adding an additional 100 nautical miles range or increased payload capability of up to 450 kilograms.
Following the success of line-fit Sharklets, Airbus, via its Upgrade Services business unit, entered service with the retrofit programme in February 2013 for all A320 Family aircraft equipped with the latest standard wings.