If you’ve ever flown on the newest aircraft in our fleet and looked out at the wings, you may have noticed something different about her. Jersey Girl, the Airbus A320 we took delivery of in March last year, was named in honor of our new daily nonstop service from the West Coast to Newark Liberty International Airport, our first destination in the Garden State. It’s also the only aircraft in our fleet equipped with “Sharklets,” a blended winglet device that reduces drag and improves aircraft operational efficiency.
Airbus developed Sharklets as a fuel-efficiency modification for its A320-family aircraft. Each Sharklet is a little over eight feet tall and increases the A320’s wingspan by about five-and-a-half feet to about 117 feet. After almost a year of flying Jersey Girl, our flight operations department estimates thus far the Sharklet-equipped aircraft offers a 3.2% fuel-burn and range advantage over aircraft without Sharklets, depending on the route and flight conditions.
That doesn’t sound like much, but consider the following. During the 12 hours a day it typically operates, an A320 equipped with Sharklets burns roughly 280 pounds of jet fuel less than one without Sharklets. Multiply that by the 365 days in a year, and the fuel savings really begin to add up.
And that fuel efficiency has a direct effect on the environment. Not only are we able to carry our guests farther with less fuel, a Sharklet-equipped aircraft emits significantly less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in a year than a similar aircraft without Sharklets. And if you want to be even greener, you can also offset the carbon footprint of your flight via Carbonfund.org on our Red™ in-flight entertainment system.
As our fleet begins growing again in 2015 and we start taking delivery of more Sharklet-equipped A320s, I can’t wait to see more Sharklets in my #PhotosFromTheWing shots.