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Airbus validates sharklet retrofit for older A320s

Airbus is expecting to produce 20 sharklet wing-tip retrofit kits monthly, with the first to be completed in the second quarter of next year.

The airframer says its A320 retrofit programme has been validated, and the processes finalised, following a demonstration exercise.

This exercise, conducted in Cardiff with a real aircraft, enabled Airbus to “optimise the embodiment sequence”, the airframer adds.

Airbus says the effort included fuel and wing-alignment certification tests.

Some 3,500 A320-family jets can potentially benefit from the kits, which allow the standard wing fences to be replaced with the sharklet wing-tips, improving the fuel burn.

The retrofit procedure is intended for older A320 models and is more complex than a simple switch of the wing-tip because the wing must undergo a degree of reinforcement.

Airbus says the backlog for the kits is “growing”, and they have been ordered by customers “in all regions”.

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