SWISS receives its first “sharklet” Airbus A320

20 March 2013

SWISS took delivery today of its first Airbus A320 equipped with “sharklets” – upward wingtip extensions that improve operating performance. The aircraft arrived in Zurich at 17:24 having been flown by the airline’s own pilots from Airbus’s Hamburg works. It will enter revenue service as planned on Friday 22 March, performing its first commercial flight from Zurich to Geneva, where it is expected to land around 07:50.

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.