Eco-efficiencyat every step of the aircraft life-cycle



Aviation is a fast and safe mode of transport, as well as one that is highly eco-efficient – with excellent environmental performance when considering the value it provides. 

Further environmental improvements for air transport require coordinated actions between all stakeholders, which consist of airlines, air traffic service providers, manufacturers and authorities. Airbus develops eco-efficient solutions at every stage of the aircraft life-cycle: 

  • Optimized performance by design 
  • Dissemination of best environment practices within the supply chain 
  • Greener manufacturing processes 
  • Supporting efficient aircraft operations 
  • Recycling and re-use at end-of-life 

In addition, the company assumes a leading role in improving the overall air transport system by contributing to the modernization of Air Traffic Management (ATM) and promoting low-emission alternative fuels.

Environmental certification

Airbus was the first in the aerospace industry to receive International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 14001 environmental certification, covering all of the company’s production sites, as well as its jetliner products.

This recognises Airbus' environmental management systems initiative, which continually monitors the environmental impact of its manufacturing processes as well as products throughout the duration of service life.

In becoming the world's first aerospace company to receive such certification, Airbus underscored its pledge to consider environmental concerns throughout all company endeavors.  

Leading the way

Environmental innovations pursued by Airbus in the production process include the pioneering use of a greener, chemical-free milling process for fuselage panels; more environmentally-friendly painting processes; and steps to minimise energy and water consumption during the production cycle. 

For its aircraft product line, Airbus continues to work on quieter and more fuel efficient jetliners. Its A380 is a benchmark for fuel efficiency and low noise levels, and such new-generation jetliners as the A350 XWB will push this envelope even further. With 25 per cent less fuel consumption than current-generation aircraft, the A350 XWB is designed to be efficient from gate-to-gate, providing the long-range market’s leading environmental performance.

Management of hazardous substances

In order to continuously improve the protection for its employees, as well as customers and passengers, Airbus has deployed means and resources to monitor and remove the most hazardous substances from its internal processes and outsourced equipment.  This takes into account all applicable regulations impacting Airbus operations, such as the REACH guidelines.

Airbus is actively working to develop new solutions involving qualification and implementation of substitutes into its products to avoid supply chain disruptions and provide support to customers. The company works on these topics within the Airbus Group and in close collaboration with professional associations such as IAEG, ASD, ADS, BDLI, TEDAE and GIFAS.

“The perfect flight”

More than 90 per cent of Airbus’ research and technology investments are to benefit the environment, with this funding primarily used for the development of new aircraft technologies, the improvement and implementation of modern ATM and the use of sustainable aviation fuel value chains. 

As part of this effort, Airbus is teaming up with airline operators to showcase environmental benefits of “The Perfect Flight,” which combines several company-backed initiatives and procedures for the most eco-efficient air travel possible today. 

Airbus and Air France completed the world’s first “Perfect Flight” in October 2011 by putting into practice multiple elements of the Airbus environmental roadmap – including the use of sustainable aviation fuels, optimised ATM and lighter cabin. The Toulouse-Paris flight was performed by an Airbus A321, and as a result, the aircraft emitted half the CO2 of a regular flight. 

The first North American “Perfect Flight” took place during June 2012 in a joint effort between Airbus and Air Canada. This activity utilised an A319 flying from Toronto to Mexico City, with the aircraft powered by a sustainable 50 per cent sustainable aviation fuel blend made with used cooking oil. Further enhancing this flight’s eco-efficiency were streamlined ATM procedures, use of Continuous Descent Approach (CDA) into the destination area, single-engine taxiing on the ground and external cleaning for improved aerodynamics. In August 2013, Airbus and Air Canada received aeronautical publication Air Transport World’s Eco-partnership Award in honor of their successful “Perfect Flight” collaboration.

Did you know?

"In the last 40 years, the aviation industry has cut fuel burn and CO2 emissions by70%, NOx emissions by 90% and noise by 75%."

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