EasyJet sharklets' performance exceeds expectations

Sharklets fitted to EasyJet Airbus A320s are delivering greater fuel-efficiency benefits than the airline foresaw.

In March, the UK low-cost carrier confirmed that sharklets would be fitted to eight of 14 A320s set for delivery by summer 2014, and that the first narrowbody equipped with the wing-tip would join its fleet in August. Flightglobal's Ascend Online database shows that three A320s have been delivered to the airline since August: registrations G-EZWM, G-EZWN and G-EZWO. Next year, EasyJet will take deliveries of nine A320s from its on-order 150, which include 100 A320neos.

EasyJet's A320s are configured with 180 seats, versus 156 for its A319s. "We’re getting a 7-8% cost saving for those we replace, and then sharklets are proving better than we expected," says EasyJet finance chief Chris Kennedy. "All new A320s are fitted with sharklets, which is giving about a 3% fuel saving on top... and we’re actually retrofitting where we can."

Sharklets cannot be fitted to some of EasyJet's aircraft because a stronger wing is needed, but Kennedy says the devices will be added "where it makes sense". He adds: "On fuel, the bill is so huge that every little thing we can do, we will do. So, we will continue to take weight off the plane. There’s a whole raft of initiatives."

In its latest financial year, EasyJet boosted from 25% to 29% the proportion of its fleet made up of A320s rather than A319s, as its A319 total reduced by a net seven aircraft and there was a net increase of 10 in its A320 inventory.

Progressive replacement of A319s is to push the A320s' proportion up to 75%.

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