Airbus set to commit to A320-family winglet programme

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Airbus will announce "within weeks" its decision to proceed with a winglet programme for the Airbus A320 family.

A senior company official has told ATI sister publication Commercial Aviation Online that a final decision whether to go forward with an Aviation Partners blended winglet design, or a design known as a 'sharklet' from Airbus, has yet to be made.

Sharklets are shaped differently to winglets but Airbus has not released any images.

"We're going to do the programme," the Airbus official says. Entry into service dates and production issues depend on which design is selected.

Fuel burn will be reduced by 2-4%, depending on which design is chosen. The Airbus A321 will be the first family member to receive the upgrade, increasing the US transcontinental range to be more competitive with the Boeing 737-900.

It will also aim to compete with the Boeing 757 fleet, a prevalent aircraft in US legacy carrier operations. American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines all have large 757 fleets.