By improving wingtip airflow, the 2.4-metre-tall sharklets promise fuel savings of between one and four per cent (depending on route length) and corresponding reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. Sharklet-equipped aircraft can also climb more steeply, reducing aircraft noise on the ground.
The sharklet’s development has been inspired by nature. Large birds such as cranes and condors tilt their outer wing feathers upwards to bring substantially more energy efficiency to their flight. Aircraft sharklets achieve a similar effect by enhancing the wingtip’s aerodynamics and reducing lift-related drag. Airbus projects that the resulting fuel economies can cut the associated carbon dioxide emissions by around 1,000 tonnes per aircraft per year – the equivalent of some 200 averagely-used cars.
The new arrival, which bears the registration HB-JLT, becomes the 38th member of the SWISS Airbus A320-family (A319/A320/A321) fleet. It will be deployed on medium-haul routes in Europe and to destinations in Africa and the Middle East.