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Amrican Airlines flies 767 with blended winglets

American Airlines flew one of its Boeing 767s with blended winglets on 20 July after winglet manufacturer GKN Aerospace delivered a set to Aviation Partners Boeing for certification testing.

The carrier operated the 767-300ER on a ferry flight from Kansas City, Missouri to San Bernardino, California for two months of winglet performance flight testing. American employees at the carrier's Kansas City maintenance base performed the winglet installation. American is the launch customer for the 3.4m (11ft) blended winglet designed for the 767-300ER.

US Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency certification is expected in November, followed by entry into revenue service in December. GKN predicts building 450 winglet ship sets for the 767-300ER, and expects to build 16 a month at peak production.

LMI Aerospace, Contour Aerospace and Honeywell Consumable Solutions are building the wing modification kits for the 767s. Aviation Partners Boeing has firm commitments for more than 130 winglet systems from 10 different airlines, and as a result, the company says it has sold out of 767-300ER blended winglets up to November 2009.

Aviation Partners Boeing says the estimated fuel reduction consumption of the blended winglets for the 767-300ER is 6.5%, which results in a 1.9 million litres (500,000USgal) reduction in jet fuel per aircraft annually for operators with the highest aircraft utilisation and the longest average sector lengths.

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