Sound business thinking guides Airbus’ environmental philosophy

Airbus has established its reputation as an aerospace industry leader for environmental responsibility, a commitment that – first and foremost – benefits Airbus’ bottom line, while also supporting a cleaner planet.

5 June 2014 Headline news

“Everything we do at Airbus starts from a business perspective and that is as true of our environmental work as anything else,” said Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer Fabrice Brégier. “Our new environmental policy isn’t inspired by green ideals nor is it a simple public relations exercise. It is a fundamental part of being a leading aircraft manufacturer.”

The philosophy is reflected across the company’s global operations, and has resulted in new technologies, industrial processes and initiatives with both commercial and environmental benefits.  

Primary examples of this “win-win” scenario are the next-generation A350 XWB and A320neo (new engine option) jetliners, each of which deliver significant reductions in fuel burned – which typically is an airline’s largest cost. Every kilogram of fuel saved is worth one dollar to the operator, while CO2 emissions decrease accordingly by over three kilograms. 

In short, everybody wins: the operator benefits from reduced costs and enhanced operational performance; the environment benefits from improved CO2 levels; and Airbus benefits from increased sales of its highly fuel-efficient aircraft.  

As another major achievement with direct business implications, Airbus is the only aircraft manufacturer worldwide to hold ISO 14001 environmental certification for all its industrial sites, products and services; while major milestones also have been reached in the company’s Blue5 roadmap for reducing the environmental footprint of Airbus operations by 2020. 

Moving forward, Airbus is focusing on improvements to the way aircraft are operated by developing changes in air traffic management (ATM) together with a range of partners. Other company-supported initiatives include “The Perfect Flight” and CleanSky 2 – the follow-up to CleanSky and the most extensive aeronautical research programme ever launched in Europe.

A “cradle-to-cradle” approach also is becoming more prevalent in the work of Airbus’ designers, developing eco-friendly products and technologies that take into account the entire lifecycle – from design all the way through to recycling and re-using.