The eco-efficiency strategies at Airbus

The eco-efficiency strategies at Airbus

“The impact on the environment is a subject taken very seriously at Airbus, affecting the decisions taken at the highest level - from long-term planning by the management team of the company - to daily operations, production, assistance for customers and other facilities around the world. The long list of environmental achievements at Airbus has been influenced by innovation and collaboration with the entire industry, from the fly-by-wire concept to the new generation of A350 XWB aircraft. Now, more than ever, these methods provide solutions to meet today's environmental challenges as well as the ambitious goals that Airbus has set for tomorrow. " - these are a few lines from the commitment made by Airbus regarding reducing the environmental impact.

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The Airbus philosophy of eco-efficiency is based on 6 so-called pillars: eco-commitment, eco-performance, eco-initiatives, eco-innovation, eco-partnerships and eco-services.

Eco-efficiency at Airbus


January 2007 marked a major achievement for Airbus, becoming the first company in the aerospace manufacturing sector with ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 14001 environment. This document covered all of its production sites and production activities. In 2013, ISO 14001 has been successfully renewed for another three years.

Airbus has expanded the scope of a standard environmental management system by integrating the manufacturing processes of the company and its products through a lifecycle approach - to enable the mapping, evaluation, control and reduction of an environmental footprint of production. of an aircraft.

Eco initiatives
As part of the effort to improve performance in environmental protection, Airbus has focused on maximizing the eco-efficient use of technology, buildings and processes from the company's production facilities worldwide. To manage this action, Airbus has launched Blue5, a plan of the measures taken to reduce the ecological footprint of its production activities.

The Airbus Blue5 initiative envisages five areas of ecological interest for sustainable production, each of them having massive improvements in recent years: saving energy, saving water, reducing waste, reducing CO emissions2 and reduction of volatile organic compounds.

We mention here some of the measures taken by the company in this program; At the Nantes plant, France, Airbus uses centralized extraction units - each consisting of a turbine and an engine with a power of approximately 100 kW - to retrieve coal dust from the factory and reduce oil residues. In the workshops of the production area Hamburg, Germany, a huge energy saving potential was identified by simply switching on the lights after a period of non-activity. To reduce paper consumption, a system called "Follow you" was installed to eliminate unnecessary document printing, thus reducing the amount of paper waste produced.

Eco innovation

Airbus fully supports the Aeronautical Research Council (ACARE) in its long-term vision in Europe to reduce CO emissions2 caused by air transport up to 50% to 2050 (compared to 2005).


Airbus is committed to investing in the continuous improvement of its aircraft in service and is applying state-of-the-art technologies to optimize new aircraft. This direction is underlined by Airbus's leading role in the European Union's "Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative" to develop new technologies that will bring about environmental improvements - in collaboration with other major European aerospace companies.

The company reaffirmed its commitment to the Clean Sky program in September 2012, making efforts to continue this activity with "Clean Sky 2" - an extension of the original initiative that will run between 2014-2020.

Airbus also contributes to improving air traffic management (ATM) by participating in SESAR ("Single European Sky ATM Research"), a program created to improve control of aircraft flying across Europe's sky, as well as to reduce airport congestion.

Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM) is the 3D printing process used in many projects by Airbus and Airbus Group. It offers a completely new approach to production. Instead of getting a component by cutting it from a solid block of material, it is built layer by layer. A laser electron beam is used to model the desired material (plastic or metal), according to a computer generated drawing.

Airbus was a pioneer in the use of composite materials and other advanced materials in aircraft design and manufacturing. Known as more reliable than traditional materials, composites reduce both the weight and the number of mandatory inspections during service.

Another commendable move is the biannual "Fly Your Ideas" competition organized by Airbus from 2008, with the intention of motivating students to pursue a career in the aerospace industry, stimulating a new way of thinking to overcome the challenges of the industry.

Eco performance

A320neo (new engine option) is one of many product upgrades. Airbus continues to invest around 300 millions of euros per year in innovation so that the A320 family maintains its position as the most advanced and efficient single-aisle family in terms of fuel consumption. combustible.


A320neo is 15% more economical in terms of fuel consumption, compared to other aircraft of this type. This is done with the help of the new engine options (CFM International LEAP-1A and PurePower PW1100G Pratt & Whitney) and the "sharklet" type devices on the wing tip. It is expected that A320neo will offer 20% reduction in fuel and CO emissions2 to 2020.

Over 70% of the weight efficiency of the aircraft structure A350 XWB is made using advanced materials, combining 53% composite structures with titanium and advanced aluminum alloys.


Compared to current environmental regulations, the compliance margins of A350 XWB are impressive: 99% below the hydrocarbon emission limit, 86% below the carbon monoxide emission limit, 60% below the smoke emission limit and 35% below the emission limit. emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx). A350 XWB is also a "silent neighbor". The noise emitted by this aircraft is up to 21dB below the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) limit.


Airbus A380 is another essential part of the solution for sustainable growth, achieving "more with less": decongestion of traffic at busy airports by transporting more passengers with fewer flights, more efficiently and at much lower costs.



A380 was the first commercial aircraft to be manufactured using 25% composite materials, saving up to 1,5 tonnes by weight and reducing fuel burn. This aircraft uses approximately 3 liters of fuel per passenger per 100 kilometers. Studies have shown 40% lower fuel consumption compared to its closest competitor.

Partnerships eco

Airbus works with airlines, government agencies, air traffic management organizations and engine manufacturers to develop and implement the best and most efficient solutions worldwide. Programs such as "Sustainable Aviation Engagement Program", "European Advanced Biofuels Flightpath" or "Perfect Flight" can be mentioned here.

An example of such a program is the initiative launched by Airbus in 2014, in partnership with British Airways, Heathrow Airport and NATS (the leading air navigation service provider in the United Kingdom), to study and develop operational procedures for reducing the number of aircrafts. people affected by noise around London Heathrow airport. This project utilizes the capabilities of Airbus A380, the quietest aircraft of its size, and looks at how all these entities can further reduce the impact of noise from flight operations on local communities.


Eco services

In addition to its "eco-friendly" aircraft, Airbus supports initiatives that increase fuel economy for operators during commercial service - either in flight or on the ground.

To further optimize operational efficiency in flight, the company - through its subsidiary Airbus Prosky - has partnered with a number of partners to develop new air traffic management (ATM) solutions that will reduce fuel consumption by routing. optimum of commercial aircraft.

More than 12.000 aircraft will be retired from operation in the next 20 years. In this regard, Airbus responds to the need to manage these aircraft in a environmentally responsible manner.

In 2005, Airbus became the first manufacturer to develop solutions for aircraft approaching retirement with a dedicated demonstration project called PAMELA. The purpose of this study was to investigate and establish new eco-efficient standards for end-of-life management of aircraft.

Airbus, together with Tarmac Aerosave, used a method for dismantling and recycling the entire range of Airbus aircraft from an ecological and financial point of view. Up to 90% of aircraft are reused or recycled. With the Tarmac Aerosave platform, Airbus and its partners set up a center dedicated to Tarbes Airport in France and Teruel Airport in Spain where the planes are decommissioned, dismantled and recycled under conditions responsible for safety and the environment.

Although the statistics show that the aviation industry has developed in a responsible way to the environment, we appreciate Airbus's effort to continue this trend with other entities in the aerospace industry and to act as a model to follow. This is especially important in the current context of the very rapid development of the aeronautical industry.

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