Airbus is looking at the potential of adapting its sharklet wing-tips to the A330 following good results from initial flight tests of the modification on the A320.

The manufacturer is also interested in raising the maximum take-off weight of the A330-200 further, to 240t.

Chief operating officer for customers John Leahy, speaking to Flightglobal Pro in Hamburg, said the airframer was "getting better results than we thought" from the sharklets fitted to the A320.

Airbus A330-200 with sharklets,

 © Tim Bicheno-Brown-Flightglobal

Sharklets on the A330-200 could nudge the twinjet's range closer to the capability of the rival Boeing 787-8.


He said initial results indicated improvements which exceeded early estimates of 3.4%.

Leahy said Airbus was "studying" the possibility of putting sharklets on the A330, and added: "Right now we're still several months away from a decision."

The process was complex, he said, because the A330 already has winglets, so the benefit of sharklets would have to be clear, and the airframer needed to analyse wing loading - particularly because it was also trying to raise the A330-200's maximum take-off weight to 240t.

He said the airframer would "ideally" look for a retrofit as well as new-build solution, but pointed out that Airbus could not indicate a production date until it had determined the nature of the sharklet design. "We don't know what 'it' is," said Leahy.

Leahy added that Airbus would also like to raise the take-off weight of its A330-300, to "the same" level of 240t.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news