Lufthansa pilots have today picked up the airline’s first Airbus A320 equipped with 2.4 metre-high extended wingtips in Hamburg Finkenwerder. Known as sharklets, the blended wingtips are designed to cut fuel consumption by one to four per cent, depending on the route length, and the equivalent amount of CO2 emissions. They also enable aircraft to climb faster, which has a positive effect in reducing noise emissions.
Sharklets were born from lessons taught by nature: Large birds like the crane or condor curl their wingtip feathers upwards in order to save their energy significantly when flying. Sharklets similarly reduce lift-induced drag and improve the aerodynamics at the wingtips. Airbus expects the resultant fuel saving to reduce CO2 emissions by around a yearly 1,000 tonnes per aircraft, which is equivalent to the volume of emissions generated by about 200 cars put to average use.
A total of 22 brand new A320 jets, and all fitted with this Airbus blended-wing innovation, are scheduled for delivery to Lufthansa by early 2015 as replacements for older aircraft. Since the fuel-saving comes into effect principally at cruising height, Lufthansa traffic managers will deploy the A320’s equipped with sharklets mainly on longer European routes.
The Lufthansa Group continuously invests in modernisation of its fleet. Up to 2025, the Group has 239 aircraft of the latest generation on its order list. This fleet renewal programme is worth in volume around 23 billion euros at list price.