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

A senior company official told CAO that a final decision whether to go forward with an Aviation Partners blended winglet design or one called sharklets designed by Airbus hasn't been made.

Sharklets are a different shape than winglets but Airbus has not released any images.

"We're going to do the programme," the official tells CAO. The question outstanding is which design. 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 and to target the Boeing 757 fleet, a prevalent aircraft in the US legacy carrier operation. American, Continental, Delta, Northwest and United airlines all have large 757 fleets.

Continental's fleet is relatively young while the other carriers have aging fleets. United has an RFP for fleet replacement, including the 757s, and it currently operates a large A319/A320 fleet. UAL is to decide by year end whether to proceed with equipment selection.

A320 curved winglet 02 W445
 © Airbus

Source: Commercial Aviation Online