November 2009 Archives
Air New Zealand will be the first airline to operate the Airbus A320s with the airframer's new "Sharklet" large wingtip devices. These will "enhance the eco-efficiency and payload-range performance of the A320 family", says Airbus. It will have at least 3.5% reduced fuel burn over longer sectors, corresponding to an annual CO2 reduction of around 700 tonnes per aircraft.
The A320 will be the first model fitted with Sharklets, which will be delivered around the end of 2012, to be followed by the other A320 Family models from 2013. Air New Zealand is the launch customer for the Sharklets, which are specified for its future A320 fleet.
It will be interesting to see how Boeing reacts to this move. Fuel reduction is a major aim these days, and Airbus will have a pretty good advantage with this innovation. New engines (maybe the P&W GTF) could be the answer going forward, but this just makes the competition in the narrowbody market a whole lot more interesting.
When you sell to airlines in under-developed countries, you sometimes come across some pretty unusual situations. Air Zimbabwe, the overseas launch customer for the Xian Aircraft MA60, has damaged one of its Chinese-built aircraft after it hit a warthog.
That's right. A warthog. And pigs can't fly.
The aircraft, UM-239, hit the animal at night (4 November) as it was trying to take off from Harare airport.
None of the 34 passengers on board were injured but the aircraft reportedly sustained substantial damage and is still grounded. The reports fail to mention the damage to the aircraft.
Last time I checked my atlas, Zimbabwe was a country and Harare was the capital. It is shocking that stray animals are able to wander onto the runway of a capital city airport. It also highlights the problems Chinese aircraft-makers face in selling to operators in such poor and under-developed markets.