By far the biggest thing we do to reduce our emissions is our investment in aircraft. We have undertaken a massive fleet renewal programme, to replace our entire fleet over a ten year period, switching from four-engine aircraft to much more efficient two-engine aircraft. We continue to take delivery of 787-9 aircraft, while preparations for 12 new A350-1000s are underway in earnest. Through a combination of aircraft and engine efficiencies and network planning to optimise passenger numbers and cargo loads, each aircraft is around 30% more fuel efficient per trip than the aircraft they are replacing.
We’re proud to say that with changes like these, we continue to reduce our aircraft carbon emissions. You can read about our latest results here.
There are a host of things our Captains can do to fly efficiently and reduce our aircraft carbon emissions. Here are just a few:
- Single engine taxi
We don’t always need all our engines running to taxi to the runway. Depending on the aircraft, we can use just one or two engines to move from the stand to the airfield before take off. So, we’ve now updated our pilots’ guidance manuals across our Airbus fleet, and during 2016 this change saved 185 tonnes of CO2.
- Altitude optimisation
How we fly from A to B has a big impact on the fuel we use and our carbon emissions. We’ve recently given our pilots access to updated and customised wind and temperature information, which means they can better optimise their flight. Changing our altitude to more favourable wind conditions can improve fuel efficiency during the flight, and we estimate this could save 3,500 tonnes of CO2 per year. Having successfully trialled this approach, we’re rolling it out across our fleet.
- Our Captains’ efficient flying study
In 2016, we published the results of an evidence based study which engaged airline captains in fuel and carbon-saving initiatives. We teamed up with academics at the London School of Economics and the University of Chicago to come up with a new approach for delivering fuel and carbon efficiency information to our Captains to help reduce emissions.
The results were staggering: over the course of the eight month study, we saved more than 6,800 tonnes of fuel, 21,500 tonnes of carbon emissions, and a healthy £3 million.
This study was published by the academic teams, and you can read a summary of that research here. And in 2018, we were delighted to receive the edie Sustainability Leaders Award for Employee Engagement and Behaviour Change for this work.