Airbus says that its new A380 superjumbo is one of the most environmentally friendly ever built, with carbon emissions of just 75g per passenger per km – 17 percent less than is emitted by the Boeing 747 – but the plane may end up having a bigger carbon footprint than its makers claim, thanks to the way airlines are fitting it out, The Telegraph reports.
Airbus’s calculations assume that the aircraft will have 525 seats and fly full but the article says that airlines are expanding first- and business-class sections, leaving fewer economy seats.
Singapore Airlines first commercial A380 flight had 471 seats across three cabin classes. Emirates and Qantas will fly with as few as 489 and 450 seats respectively.
When operating at 80 percent capacity, a Singapore Airlines A380 will produce about 101g of CO2 emissions, according to The Telegraph. Emirates and Qantas A380s will produce 106g and 109g respectively in their smaller configurations.
Boeing’s 747-8, which can carry up to 467 passengers, is said to release just 88g of CO2 per passenger per km when 80 per cent of its seats are full. Boeing says its 787 Dreamliner, which will launch next year, will improve on this.
In June, Airbus announced that it will reduce CO2 emissions from its planes by half between now and 2020.
The IATA has set a goal of developing a “zero-emissions” airplane within 50 years.