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Dan Catchpole | dcatchpole@heraldnet.com
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012, 7:32 a.m.

Airbus holds A380 delivery goal, shows off A320 sharklets

  • The first A320 with built-in wingtips called sharklets rolled off of Airbus' production line in Toulouse, France.

    Airbus

    The first A320 with built-in wingtips called sharklets rolled off of Airbus' production line in Toulouse, France.

Airbus has slowed production on its A380 aircraft, prompting speculation the European plane maker won't meet its delivery target.

French publication La Tribune reported that Airbus is decreasing production to 2.3 super jumbo jets monthly from 2.7.

An Airbus spokesman told Reuters the company is slowing production to address recent problems with wing cracks in the A380. Airbus still plans to reach its goal of delivering 30 A380s this year, putting it on track to reach its break-even point in 2015, he told Reuters.

Also on Thursday, Airbus released a photo of the first A320 with curved wingtips, called sharklets, built in. Airbus plans to flight test this and six more A320s with sharklets added during production for 600 hours beginning next month. The Toulouse-based Airbus will deliver the first single-aisle A320 with production assembled sharklets in the fourth quarter.

The sharklets, which are similar to Boeing's winglets, will cut fuel burn by 3.5 percent, Airbus estimates. Airbus will offer the sharklets as an option that airlines can pick on its existing A320 series. The jet maker's updated A320 new engine option aircraft, or A320neo, will have sharklets as a standard feature.
Story tags » Boeing

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