KANSAS CITY, MO – MetroAir Virtual will soon become the newest airline to operate A320 Family aircraft with in-service retrofitted Sharklet wingtip devices. MetroAir committed to purchasing 55 shipsets, with an option for 38 more. Thanks to this aerodynamic upgrade, every MetroAir Virtual retrofitted aircraft will
benefit from a reduction in fuel costs by up to four per cent, an annual 900t reduction in CO2 emissions and an increased mission range by up to 200 nautical miles.
Last November, MetroAir placed 5 options for new A320s with Sharklets, but opted to cancel these options in lieu of in-service retrofits. The procedure to install the in-service retrofit takes 14 days and includes certain wing structure modifications, as well as adjustments to flight control computer parameters. Since February 2013, Airbus has offered “Sharklet-ready” wings which are capable of being fitted with Sharklets without any additional structural reinforcements and only require adjustments to the flight control computer. Ten A319s and 5 A320s, which were delivered to MetroAir in the past year, came equipped with “Sharklet-ready” wings and require just two days to modify. These aircraft will be the first to be updated. In total, ten A319s, 25 A320s, and 20 A321s will be equipped with Sharklets.
“Sharklets give our fleet incredible fuel-savings, which helps both the environment and your wallet,” said CEO Matt Calsada, “Airbus has been working very hard to help make our already efficient and comfortable fleet even more competitive.” MetroAir executives stated the Sharklet airframes are slated to be placed on long routes where the fuel savings have the largest effect.
“One great benefit of the Sharklets is the extra range our aircraft will have,” stated COO William Hogarth, “We could see range increases of up to 200 nautical miles which will help reduce the chances of a fuel stop on long sectors, especially westbound flights fighting winter headwinds. You can plan to see the Sharklets on routes such as BWI/JFK/BOS-LAX and LAX/PDX-Hawai’i.”
The MetroAir operations staff predicted an EIS (entry into service) by the end of the calendar year. “We’re hoping to get the Sharklet-ready aircraft equipped as soon as possible,” said Fleet Director Zak Winnick, “But the logistics of taking the older airframes out of the network for two weeks is difficult.”