Eco-design: Airbus is designing with the environment in mind

With Airbus’ environmental policy, the company’s philosophy literally starts at the beginning.

15 July 2014 Feature story

Environmental factors increasingly are taken into account in designing Airbus its aircraft – a plan driven by its commitment to the environment and a compelling business case. 

This philosophy is on full display this week at the 2014 Farnborough Airshow – with the presence of such jetliners as a Sharklet-equipped A320, the next generation A350 XWB and the double-deck A380 jetliner – along with the launch of the A330neo (new engine option). These aircraft all deliver significant fuel-burn reduction compared to previous aircraft, saving operators money while also benefitting the environment with lower carbon emissions.  

“The hardest thing about aircraft design is that everything involves trade-offs,” said Gael Sarrieu, who leads Airbus’ lifecycle analysis, citing the importance of weight when considering a new aircraft system. “Everyone has been familiar with that consideration for a long time, but now we’re giving the same thought to all areas.”

For example, Sarrieu explained that noise used to be less of a concern for designers compared to efficiency but it is of increasing importance for customers who want to operate at some of the world’s busiest airports. As a result, Airbus products – such as the A380, A350 XWB and A320neo – are designed to be quieter than required by worldwide noise regulations.

“Airbus designers now understand that the whole lifecycle, right through to recycling and re-using, matters to our customers,” said Sarrieu. “We aren’t trying to start a revolution – we’re just trying to do good business!”

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