Monday September 16, 2013
Wichita's Mid-Continent airport welcomes American Airlines first flight here with American's new Airbus A319 jetliner.
Mid-Continent's Safety department made a water canon salute for the American flight from Dallas to taxi under.
American Airlines is in the process of updating its fleet by replacing some of the older MD-80's which have flown in and out of Wichita for more than 20 years.
Monday's inaugural flight arrival here was also welcomed by 45 Wichita Airbus employees from the Airbus Engineering facility. The engineers helped design the plane's "sharklets." What Airbus calls sharklets are usually called winglets or the wing tips on U.S. built planes.
Airbus Vice President of Engineering John O'Leary says those sharklets can typically increase the plane's fuel efficiency by about four percent which can save a great amount of fuel over the plane's lifetime.
But what the passengers arriving at gate six noticed were the improvements inside the cabin, such as, leather seats throughout. Each seat has its own entertainment screen with passengers being able to select their own entertainment.
American Spokeswoman Andrea Huguely says for now one A319 will fly daily in and out of Wichita. She says that can change as the airline takes more deliveries and replaces older planes.