Finnair becomes first to order fuel and emissions saving Sharklet-fitted extended-range Airbus A321
Airbus graphic of Sharklet wingtips fitted to an A320
Mon 14 June 2010 – Finnair has said it will order five new Airbus A321ER aircraft fitted with the Airbus-designed Sharklet wingtips to replace Boeing 757 aircraft used on leisure flights. With a range of 5,000 kilometres, the extended-range narrowbody aircraft will be capable of direct flights from, for example, Finland to the Canary Islands. The Sharklet devices are designed to enhance the eco-efficiency and payload range performance of the A320 Family, with an expected 3.5 percent reduction in fuel burn over longer sectors. This corresponds to an annual CO2 reduction of around 700 tonnes per aircraft, although Finnair is looking for savings closer to 4 percent.
Last November, Air New Zealand became the launch customer for the Sharklets when it takes delivery of new A320 aircraft around the end of 2012 (see story).
“Finnair sees the new Sharklets option as a significant jump ahead in terms of fuel-burn savings, reduced maintenance costs and payload-range performance improvement,” said Mika Vehviläinen, the airline’s President and CEO.
First delivery of the 200-seat A321s is expected in 2013 and the aircraft is aimed at improving synergy between Finnair’s scheduled and leisure flight operations as the airline wishes to increase its share of what it sees as a growing leisure flight market.
The five narrowbody aircraft will replace an order for two long-haul aircraft planned for 2012-2013. “As other airlines reduce their capacities, it is possible to find aircraft to meet the possible needs of long-haul traffic growth on favourable terms,” said Finnair.
John Leahy, Airbus COO,Customers, said: “We are pleased that despite the difficult economic environment and the challenges faced by European airlines, Finnair had the courage to look ahead and take a definitive step towards greener aviation.”
The airline has been systematically renewing its fleet since 1999 and has set a target of reducing emissions by at least 41% between 1999 and 2017, and by 24% between 2009 and 2017 (see story). Finnair claims its European and domestic fleet has an average age of four years.
Airbus recently announced that Korean Air Aerospace Division, the aerospace manufacturing division of the Korean Air Group, will be the sole manufacturer and supplier of the 2.5 metre-tall Sharklet devices.