Airbus moves closer to A320 winglet decision

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Airbus is nearing a decision on an A320 winglet programme as its studies of offering a blended winglet design are drawing to a conclusion.

During the ALTA 2009 Airline Leaders Forum today Airbus Americas CEO Barry Eccleston explained the airframer was examining winglets very closely. "My guess is we'll make decision in the next few weeks."

Airbus understands the benefits offered by winglets, says Eccleston. But there are questions about the business case for both the airframer and its customers, he adds.

ATI sister publication Commercial Aviation Online reported earlier this month that Airbus was evaluating the Aviation Partners blended winglet and a sharklet design, which has a different shape from winglets. A senior Airbus official at that time said the company would move forward with a winglet programme, and the A321 would be the first family of the narrowbody family to feature the technology. Depending on the selected design, fuel burn could be cut by 2%-4%.