As it continues flight testing for its fuel-saving Sharklet for introduction later this year, Airbus is nearing launch of a retrofit plan for existing A320 aircraft with entry into service slated for 2014.

"We're quite close to launching, we haven't done it yet, it's a product development study, but the results are looking quite positive, to also offer a retrofit programme where we would basically put on from an aerodynamic perspective the same sharket-type device on an existing A320 family airplane," says Andrew Shankland, Airbus senior vice president leasing markets.

Shankland was speaking at the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading Americas conference in Scottsdale Arizona.

He adds that Airbus is conducting an airframe-by-airframe "rivet level" analysis on the new Sharklet, evaluating where the fuel-saving fixtures would be structurally compatible with older A320s.

Shankland estimates airframe line numbers between 1,000 and 1,200 to be the retrofit cutoff for the sharklets.

To date, Airbus has delivered more than 5,000 Airbus A320 family aircraft. MSN5098 is anticipated to be the first Sharkletted A320, handed over to Air New Zealand later this year.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news