How green is the A380?

Following the successful first commercial flight of the Airbus A380 from Singapore to Sydney, it is possible that the new superjumbo may not be as environmentally friendly as the manufacturer claims.

Airbus has said that the double decker A380 will have carbon emissions of only 75g per passenger per km - a full 17% less than the previous biggest airliner, the Boeing 747.

But as The Telegraph has reported, the figure of 75g is based on the aircraft having 525 seats and flying full. The first A380s being operated by Singapore Airlines have only 471 seats, and it is expected that Emirates A380s may have only 489 seats, while those operated by Qantas could have only 450. This would mean that Qantas A380s would produce carbon emissions of 109g per passenger.

The Airbus A380

Next year Boeing will launch its response to the A380, the 787 Dreamliner. Boeing claims the Dreamliner will be much more fuel efficient than similar sized planes, although with only up to 250 seats the 787 is much smaller than the A380. Currently Boeing's 747-8, which carries up to 467 passengers, produces 88g of CO2 per km for each passenger when 80% full and the 787 is expected to be considerably cleaner.

Airbus has also promised cheaper fares on the A380 because of the operating efficiency of the aircraft, but Singapore Airlines passengers will pay up to 25% more for first class suites and 20% more for business class than they have before. The price of economy seats will depend on sales, the airline told The Telegraph.

Written by: Nick Purdom

 

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