The Chinese regional Tibet Airlines, the flag carrier of the by China occupied country of Tibet or – depending on which side you stand – the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China, has taken delivery of its first A319 with sharklets fuel-saving devices on the wingtips. It joins Tibet Airlines’ existing fleet of eight A319s. The aircraft is the 165th aircraft assembled at Airbus’ Tianjin Final Assembly Line (FALC) in China.
The aircraft is powered by CFM56-5B engines and features a two class cabin, seating 128 passengers with eight in business class and 120 in economy. Tibet Airlines’ is based at Gongga Airport of Lhasa. This is one of the world’s highest airports at an altitude of 12,000 feet. The new A319 is certificated for high altitude airport operation and Required Navigation Performance – Authorisation Required (RNP-AR) and Satcom is installed.
RNP-AR procedures represent a modern navigation technique, allowing the aircraft to fly precisely along predefined routes using on-board navigation systems and the GPS-based data. The high accuracy provided by RNP-AR is especially important for airlines operating in and out of airports in mountainous regions. Tibet Airlines has selected Airbus ProSky, an Airbus subsidiary, as its strategic partner for its RNP-AR operations.
The sharklets on the aircraft are made from light-weight composites and are 2.4 meters tall. They are an option on new-build A320 Family aircraft and standard on all members of the new A320neo family. They offer operators up to four per cent fuel burn reduction on longer range sectors and provide the flexibility of either adding an additional 100 nautical miles range or increased payload capability of up to 450 kilograms.
The FALC in Tianjin is based on the latest state-of-the-art Airbus single aisle final assembly line in Hamburg, Germany. The aircraft delivered in China are assembled to the same standards as those assembled and delivered in Europe. The 165 aircraft produced in Tianjin are in service with 13 Chinese and Asian airlines.
Source: Airbus with additional reporting by AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger