While Airbus has been flight-testing its fuel-economic sharklet for service entry later this year, the aircraft manufacturer is on the verge of launching a retrofit plan for existing A320 aircraft, which is expected to get into service in 2014.
Andrew Shankland, Airbus senior vice president leasing markets, said,
"We're quite close to launching, we haven't done it yet, it's a product development study, but the results are looking quite positive, to also offer a retrofit program where we would basically put on from an aerodynamic perspective the same sharket-type device on an existing A320 family airplane."
Shankland said Airbus is currently carrying out an airframe-by-airframe "rivet level" analysis on the new Sharklet, to evaluate where the fuel-saving fixtures would be structurally compatible with older A320s.
According to Shankland, an estimated 1,000 - 1,200 airframe line numbers will be retrofit cut-off for the sharklets.
So far, Airbus has supplied in excess of 5,000 Airbus A320 family aircraft. The first Sharkletted A320 will be MSN5098, which will be delivered to Air New Zealand towards the end of the year (2012).