Outside the cabin
To improve the environmental footprint of its families of efficient jetliners, Airbus is continuously working in key areas for innovation such as product technology enhancements, sustainable aviation fuels for aviation and Air Traffic Management (ATM).
As a result, Airbus has contributed significantly to the aviation industry’s improved eco-efficiency over the past several decades. In 1985, the average aircraft fleet consumed eight litres per passenger per 100 kilometres; today it is less than five litres, with an anticipated drop to three litres in 15-20 years.
Airbus is committed to ensuring that air travel continues to be one of the safest and most eco-efficient means of transportation. Environmental, health and safety considerations have long been an integral part of its activities at all levels of the company, and are a key priority in the development of all new techniques, products and processes.
For a better environment
Since the 1970s, aircraft fuel burn and CO2 emissions have been reduced by 70 per cent and noise by 75 per cent – however, the industry is determined to further improve its environmental performance and constantly is seeking new ways to reduce emissions and fuel burn.
Airbus’ extensive efforts to reduce aircraft noise are underscored by its efficient jetliner families – which are the quietest in the sky, ensuring operational freedom at airports with noise restrictions. Leading the way is Airbus’ 21st century flagship A380, which carries 42 per cent more passengers than its nearest competitor, but produces 50 per cent less noise energy on departure, as well as three-to-four times less when landing.
The company places a high priority on noise reduction throughout its design processes, and is focussed on low-noise nacelle designs, acoustic treatment and low engine noise technologies in cooperation with engine manufacturers. Developments in this area include the Automatic Noise Abatement Departure Procedure (NADP), which optimizes the thrust and flight path to reduce noise over populated areas.
Airbus supports the new noise stringency level adopted in February 2013 by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection – which lowers the current standard by seven decibels, coming into effect at the end of 2017. All Airbus development aircraft are designed to be compliant with the new standard.
Alternate fuel road map
Airbus has developed a road map working towards making sustainable aviation fuels a reality for aviation use. As part of this continued effort, the company is actively engaged in the implementation and testing of sustainable aviation fuels derived from biomass, and strongly supports the installation of local sustainable aviation fuel value-chains around the world. In addition, Airbus is researching a number of additional promising technologies, including electric propulsion and fuel cells.
For wider initiatives, such as Air Traffic Management (ATM), Airbus even co-operates with its competitors to deliver the best solutions for airlines and the environment. Airbus has a leading role in the SESAR project to improve the efficiency of European ATM and works with teams involved in the NEXT GEN project designed to do the same for U.S. ATM.
In addition, the company was selected to provide Air Traffic Management and Performance-Based Navigation expertise for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Greener Skies Initiative. As part of this effort, Airbus will identify procedures which fully utilize aircraft precision navigation capabilities to reduce fuel burn, lower emissions and decrease noise.