Airbus, the renowned aerospace giant, has announced its commitment to replace its charter fleet of ships with greener and more efficient vessels, starting in 2026. Although commonly associated with aviation, Airbus has its own fleet of three chartered ships that transport aircraft subassemblies across the Atlantic Ocean. However, with A320 production set to increase to 75 aircraft per month by 2026, the carbon emissions from these operations have become a concern.
To address this issue, Airbus has partnered with shipowner Louis Dreyfus Armateurs to build three new low-emission roll-on/roll-off ships. While Airbus will lease these ships, Louis Dreyfus Armateurs will own and operate them. The new vessels will be equipped with cutting-edge technology, including six Flettner rotors. These vertical, rotating cylinders act as airfoils and utilize wind to generate thrust and propel the ships. Additionally, the vessels will feature two dual-fuel engines that run on maritime diesel oil and e-methanol. Routing software will also be incorporated to optimize routes and take advantage of prevailing winds and currents.
Compared to the current fleet, each transport will have a greater capacity, able to carry seventy 40-ft containers and six single-aisle aircraft subassembly sets. This increase in efficiency is expected to reduce carbon emissions from 68,000 to 33,000 tonnes by 2030, according to Airbus.
Nicolas Chrétien, Head of Sustainability & Environment at Airbus, emphasized the significance of the fleet renewal in reducing environmental impact. He stated, “The latest generation of vessels proposed by Louis Dreyfus Armateurs are more fuel efficient than their predecessors, using cutting-edge technologies like wind-assisted propulsion. This demonstrates our determination to lead the way in decarbonizing our sector by innovating not just in aviation, but across all our industrial operations.”
Airbus’ commitment to greener and more sustainable operations aligns with its broader efforts to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the environmental impact of its operations. By incorporating advanced technologies and optimizing routes, Airbus aims to significantly minimize its fleet’s carbon footprint and contribute to combating climate change.
The company’s decision to invest in a low-carbon ocean fleet reflects the growing emphasis on sustainability within the transportation sector. As the global economy continues to evolve, companies across industries are recognizing the need for environmentally friendly practices and are taking steps to reduce their carbon emissions. Airbus’ initiative serves as an example of sustainability leadership and innovation in the aerospace industry.
With the launch of its new low-carbon ocean fleet featuring Flettner rotors, Airbus is making a significant contribution to a more sustainable future. By embracing green technologies and modernizing its operations, Airbus sets a benchmark for environmental responsibility within the aviation and maritime sectors. This move not only complements the company’s existing efforts to reduce carbon emissions but also reinforces its commitment to sustainability across all areas of operation. As Airbus continues to pioneer in decarbonization, other companies in the transportation industry can draw inspiration from its approach and work towards a greener and more sustainable future.
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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