Eco-services | Airbus, Commercial Aircraft
Eco-services at airbus
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A winning strategy

Airbus’ highly efficient A320neo (new engine option) performed its maiden flight in September 2014.

Airbus’ support for increasing the efficiency of in-service aircraft benefits customers, the company’s bottom line, as well as the environment. A major part of this in-service focus is the jetliners themselves. The latest Airbus products – including the A320neo, A350 XWB and A380, along with the new A330neo – are all highly fuel efficient, delivering savings to operators while also reducing CO2 emissions.

In addition to its aircraft, the company supports initiatives which improve fuel savings for operators during commercial service – whether in flight or taxiing on the ground.  

To further optimise the operational efficiency in-flight, the company – through its Airbus ProSky subsidiary – is working closely with a range of partners to develop new air traffic management solutions (ATM), which achieve fuel savings through optimised routing of commercial aircraft.

End-of-life innovation

Supported by the European Commission, this project successfully demonstrated a business step change: as much as 85 per cent of each aircraft’s components could be safely and effectively reused, recovered or recycled.

With more than 12,000 aircraft due to retire from operation within the next 20 years, Airbus is addressing the need to manage these aircraft in an environmentally responsible way.

In 2005, Airbus became the first manufacturer to undertake a voluntarily approach to develop solutions for aircraft nearing permanent retirement with a dedicated demonstration project called PAMELA. This investigative study’s purpose was to set new eco-efficient standards for the management of end-of-life aircraft.

It was the world’s first full-scale demonstration project and identified a generic methodology for handling all end-of-life aircraft, along with a set of best practices. Lessons learnt during PAMELA have been shared with Airbus’ design teams and suppliers to inform and support a fully integrated lifecycle approach to aircraft design and manufacture.

A “cradle-to-cradle” approach

Tarmac Aerosave’s 8,000-square metre hangar can accommodate any type of aircraft up to an A380, while its outdoor area is sized to hold 20 airplanes – with room for future extension.

Airbus and its Tarmac Aerosave joint venture use a proven method for dismantling and recycling the entire product range of Airbus aircraft in an environmentally and financially viable way. Up to 90 per cent of the aircraft are reused or recycled. With the Tarmac Aerosave platform, Airbus and its partners have established a dedicated centre at Tarbes airport in France and Teruel Airport in Spain – where aircraft are industrially decommissioned, dismantled and recycled in safe and environmentally responsible conditions. 

Airbus also has gained experience from Tarmac Aerosave and data is used as feedback for the different functions in Airbus, from aircraft early design to end-of-life management – including the re-use of materials. 

One key achievement of the PAMELA project and of the Tarmac Aerosave industrial undertaking is a business shift from “cradle-to-grave” to “cradle-to-cradle” – mitigating the risks of future raw material scarcity.