China’s largest operator of Airbus aircraft, China Eastern Airlines, has taken delivery of its first A320 aircraft equipped with Sharklet fuel saving wing-tip devices, becoming China’s first carrier to do so. The aircraft is also the first Sharklets equipped A320 assembled and delivered in Tianjin.
The A320, powered by IAE V2500 engines, features a comfortable two class cabin, seating 158 passengers with eight in business class and 150 in economy. The A320 will make its first commercial flight from Shanghai to Dalian on May 18.
“As the first and biggest Airbus customer in China, China Eastern and Airbus have long-term good cooperation. China Eastern is honored to be the first customer of A320 with sharklets in China. In the near future, China Eastern will further expand our sharklet equipped A320 family fleet”, said Shu Mingjiang, Vice President Flight Operations, China Eastern.
“We are delighted that China Eastern Airlines has taken delivery of its first Sharklet equipped A320. It is a mark of our close ties that the biggest Airbus fleet operator in China is also the first Chinese carrier to benefit from up to four per cent reduction in fuel costs”, said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers.
Sharklets are made from light-weight composites and are 2.4 meters tall. They are an option on new-build A320 Family aircraft and standard on all members of the new A320neo family. They offer operators up to four per cent fuel burn reduction on longer range sectors and provide the flexibility of either adding an additional 100 nautical miles range or increased payload capability of up to 450 kilograms.
China Eastern is one of the largest airlines in China and is the first Chinese airline operating Airbus aircraft in 1985. Now it operates an Airbus fleet of over 230 aircraft including A300s, A319s, A320s, A321s, A330s and A340s.
Airbus Tianjin Delivery Centre has delivered 126 aircraft since June 2009 and it plans to deliver 46 aircraft in total in 2013.