Category Archives: Airbus

Airbus and Air France target more energy efficient flights

Airbus, Air France and DSNA, the French Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), have begun working towards the development of “most energy efficient flights”, following their inaugural demonstration flight from Paris to Toulouse Blagnac on the day of the Airbus Summit event. The aircraft flew an optimized trajectory, marking the first of a series of trials planned during 2021 and 2022 within the framework of the Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU) “ALBATROSS” project.

Launched in February 2021, ALBATROSS is a large-scale initiative of major European aviation stakeholder groups led by Airbus. It aims to demonstrate, through a series of gate-to-gate live demonstration flights across Europe, the feasibility of implementing most energy efficient flights in the short term, by combining several R&D technical and operational innovations.

“ALBATROSS” follows an holistic approach by covering all flight phases, directly involving all relevant stakeholder groups (such as airlines, ANSPs, network managers, airports and industry) and addressing both operational and technological aspects of aviation and Air Traffic Management (ATM). Many solutions will be put into practice during the flight demonstrations, from new precision approach procedures to continuous climb and descent, a more dynamic management of necessary airspace constraints, sustainable taxiing and  sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) usage.

Thanks to the transmission of four-dimensional trajectory data, ATM will be able to optimize and better predict an aircraft’s trajectory, thereby enabling it to immediately and concretely reduce a flight’s environmental footprint.

Starting from September 2021, these live trials will involve around 1,000 demonstration flights, showcasing mature operational solutions with potential fuel and CO2 emission savings. First results are expected to be available in 2022.

The ALBATROSS partners are Airbus, Air France, Austro Control, DLR, DSNA, Eurocontrol, LFV, Lufthansa, Novair, Schiphol, Smart Airport Systems, SWEDAVIA, SWISS, Thales AVS France and WIZZ AIR UK.

The funding of the project is provided by the EU under the Grant Agreement No 101017678.

Airbus, Air Liquide and Vinci Airports announce a partnership to promote the use of hydrogen

Airbus, Air Liquide and Vinci Airports, three major players in the aviation, hydrogen and airport industries, are working together to promote the use of hydrogen at airports and build the European airport network to accommodate future hydrogen aircrafts. The airport of Lyon-Saint Exupéry (France) will host the first installations as early as 2023. This partnership reflects the three groups’ shared ambition to combine their respective expertise to support the decarbonization of air travel.

Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport (VINCI Airports’ center of excellence for innovation) has been chosen as the pilot airport by the partners. The implementation of this project includes several phases:

  • From 2023: deployment of a hydrogen gas distribution station at Lyon-Saint Exupéry airport. This station will supply both the airport’s ground vehicles (buses, trucks, handling equipment, etc.) and those of its partners, as well as the heavy goods vehicles that drive around the airport. This first phase is essential to test the airport’s facilities and dynamics as a “hydrogen hub” in its area of reach.
  • Between 2023 and 2030: deployment of liquid hydrogen infrastructures that will allow hydrogen to be provisioned into the tanks of future aircraft.
  • Beyond 2030: deployment of the hydrogen infrastructure from production to mass distribution of liquid hydrogen at the airport.

By 2030, the three partners will study the possibility of equipping VINCI Airports’ European airport network with the hydrogen production, storage and supply facilities needed for use on the ground and on board aircraft.

This partnership illustrates the partners’ shared commitment to decarbonizing air travel and is a major step forward for the development of hydrogen across the airport ecosystem. It relies on the know-how of Airbus in commercial aircraft, on Air Liquide’s expertise in mastering the entire hydrogen value chain (production, liquefaction, storage and distribution) and on the global reach of VINCI Airports, the leading private airport operator with 45 airports in 12 countries, which will help create the desired network.

Airbus and Air New Zealand to study potential for hydrogen-powered aircraft

Air New Zealand and Airbus have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate on a joint study to explore the potential for hydrogen-powered aircraft operations.

Under the agreement, Air New Zealand will analyze the impact hydrogen-powered aircraft may have on its network, operations and infrastructure. Meanwhile, Airbus will share expected aircraft  performance and ground operations characteristics to support Air New Zealand in its decarbonization roadmap.

Airbus is currently studying three concepts for hydrogen-powered aircraft, including a turboprop, turbofan and blended wing option. The company plans to bring a hydrogen-powered aircraft to the market by 2035.

Air New Zealand and Airbus to research future of hydrogen-powered aircraft in Aotearoa

Air New Zealand and aircraft manufacturer Airbus have today announced a joint initiative to research how hydrogen-powered aircraft could assist the airline with reaching its goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

In a first for the Asia-Pacific region, the two organizations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate on a joint research project to better understand the opportunities and challenges of flying zero-emission hydrogen aircraft in New Zealand.

Under the MoU, Air New Zealand will analyze the impact hydrogen aircraft may have on its network, operations and infrastructure, while Airbus will provide hydrogen aircraft performance requirements and ground operations characteristics to support Air New Zealand to develop its decarbonization roadmap.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran says the MoU is an exciting step towards understanding how hydrogen-powered aircraft could become a reality in New Zealand.

“This agreement brings us a step closer to our net zero emissions by 2050 commitment, and to realizing our aspiration to put low carbon solutions in place for our shorter domestic and regional flights in the next decade. New Zealand has a unique opportunity to be a world leader in the adoption of zero emissions aircraft, given the country’s commitment to renewable energy which can be used to generate green hydrogen and our highly connected regional air network.

“At this stage, both hydrogen and battery electric aircraft are still on the table as potential options for our shorter domestic flights, along with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) for long haul operations. This research will help to inform future decision making as we work to decarbonize the airline.”

Air New Zealand Chief Operational Integrity and Safety Officer Captain David Morgan says the MoU is an opportunity for the airline to be part of the design and definition of how a hydrogen-powered aircraft might fit into its own operations.

“We’ll be working closely with Airbus to understand opportunities and challenges, including achievable flying range and what ground infrastructure or logistics changes may be required to implement this technology in New Zealand.”

Airbus Asia-Pacific President Anand Stanley says the company chose to work with Air New Zealand because of its commitment to sustainability, reputation for technical excellence and alignment with the manufacturer’s own decarbonization goals.

“This agreement with Air New Zealand will provide us with important insights about how we could put a zero-emission aircraft into service. The joint study will enable us to gain invaluable feedback on what airlines will expect and their preferences in terms of configuration and performance.

Airbus is currently looking at three concepts for hydrogen-powered aircraft, including a turboprop, turbofan and blended wing option.

An Airbus A350 fueled by 100% SAF takes off

Airbus has made this announcement:

The study of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)’s impact on the full scope of aircraft emissions has been few and far between. An Airbus-led project is looking to change that by conducting a series of flight and ground tests aimed at shedding light on the emissions performance of 100% SAF.

On a chilly but pleasant March day, an A350 moved into position, revved its jet engines and took off from the runway at Blagnac airport in Toulouse, France. But this was no ordinary flight: the test aircraft was fueled by 100% SAF.

Today, all Airbus aircraft are certified to fly with up to a 50% blend of SAF mixed with kerosene. But the emissions performance of SAF when unblended with any type of fossil fuel has remained a question mark across the industry—until now.

The Airbus-led Emission and Climate Impact of Alternative Fuels project, in collaboration with Rolls-Royce, German aerospace research centre DLR and oil refining company Neste, has set its sights on providing insight on that very question.

Videos:

Throughout the year, the project will test the emissions performance of 100% SAF on one engine of a Trent XWB-powered A350 test aircraft in the air and on the ground. It is the first in-flight study of its kind using a commercial passenger jet.

“SAF is one of the aviation industry’s best low-carbon solutions with an immediate impact on CO2 emissions today,” Steven Le Moing, Airbus New Energy Program Manager, says. “This research project will help us to better understand the impact of unblended SAF on the full scope of aircraft emissions, while supporting SAF’s future certification for blends that exceed today’s maximum of 50%.”

Ground tests will measure particulate emissions in local environments, while flight tests will assess the volume and consistency of contrails. Initial fuel clearance tests have already begun.

“The first flight went exceptionally well,” explains Emiliano Requena Esteban, Airbus Flight Test Engineer. “There’s no perceptible difference in engine behavior between jet fuel and SAF. It’s very exciting for me to contribute to a project that participates in the decarbonization of our skies!”

100% Sustainable fuel tests on A350MSN1 FlightLab.
SAF, ECLIF3, HEFA fuel.

The A350 test aircraft is refueled with 100% SAF before its first clearance test flight.

Understanding the SAF impact on aircraft emissions

The test flight, conducted on March 16, 2021, is the first in a series of clearance tests scheduled this month to analyze the safety of 100% SAF. Then, in April, DLR’s Falcon 20E “chase” aircraft equipped with a “sniffer” (i.e. sensors) will follow 50 metres behind the A350 test aircraft to measure the emissions directly from the SAF-fueled engine exhaust.

Indeed, over the past decade, SAF has demonstrated its efficacy in reducing CO2 emissions when used as a substitute for conventional or fossil-based jet fuel. However, little research has been carried out on how SAF can have a positive impact on other aircraft emissions. This means the industry can paint only half the picture of aviation’s overall climate impact.

“Decarbonizing aviation is not just about reducing CO2 emissions,” Steven explains. “At Airbus, our priority is to deal with the complete climate-impact challenge, which includes overall greenhouse gases and other aircraft emissions. Our decarbonization plan focuses on accelerating technology development to this end, in complement to a dynamic deployment of SAF.”

For this reason, the project will help to better analyze the impact of other climate-relevant emissions from aircraft engines, including:

  • Carbon monoxide (CO)
  • Nitrogen dioxide (NOx)
  • Water vapor
  • Soot
  • Aerosol and sulphate aerosol particles
  • Contrails and contrail cirrus clouds (i.e. clouds of ice crystals produced by aircraft engines at high altitude under certain meteorological conditions)

Unblended SAF of European origin

The 100% SAF is a key component of the research project. The series of flight and ground tests will compare findings from the unblended SAF mixture made from Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA) against those of standard kerosene and low-sulphur kerosene. HEFA feedstock generally consists of globally sourced animal fat and used cooking oil, but locally sourced feedstock from specific regions can also be used. The feedstock supplied to Airbus for the project is of EU origin.

In addition, the 117 tonnes of neat SAF that will be used for the entire test campaign were entirely produced in Europe and supplied by Finland-based Neste. The SAF refining process was carried out at the company’s refinery in Porvoo, Finland. After refining, the SAF was then transported by ship to Rotterdam, where the final processing step, known as fractionation, took place. From Rotterdam, transportation via truck brought the SAF to Toulouse, France in ISO containers.

Initial results from the ground and flight tests are expected later in 2021 and more complete results in 2022. The Emission and Climate Impact of Alternative Fuels project, focused on SAF’s emissions performance, is one of several climate-impact programs that Airbus is currently leading with its partners in an effort to support significant reductions in aircraft emissions across the aviation industry in the decades to come.

Airbus updates A320 production rates in response to market environment

Airbus SE is updating its production rate planning for its A320 Family aircraft in response to the market environment.

The new average production rates for the A320 Family will now lead to a gradual increase in production from the current rate of 40 per month to 43 in Q3 and 45 in Q4 2021. This latest production plan represents a slower ramp up than the previously anticipated 47 aircraft per month from July.

The A220 monthly production rate will increase from four to five aircraft per month from the end of Q1 2021 as previously foreseen.

Wide body production is expected to remain stable at current levels, with monthly production rates of around five and two for the A350 and A330, respectively. This decision postpones a potential rate increase for the A350 to a later stage.

Airbus continues to monitor the market closely. With these revised rates, Airbus preserves its ability to meet customer demand while protecting its ability to further adapt as the global market evolves. Airbus expects the commercial aircraft market to return to pre-COVID levels by 2023 to 2025.

Airbus plans to further adapt to COVID-19 environment

Airbus has made this announcement:

Airbus (stock exchange symbol: AIR) has announced plans to adapt its global workforce and resize its commercial aircraft activity in response to the COVID-19 crisis. This adaptation is expected to result in a reduction of around 15,000 positions no later than summer 2021. The information and consultation process with social partners has begun with a view to reaching agreements for implementation starting in autumn 2020.

The commercial aircraft business activity has dropped by close to 40% in recent months as the industry faces an unprecedented crisis. Commercial aircraft production rates have been adapted accordingly. Airbus is grateful for the government support that has enabled the Company to limit these necessary adaptation measures. However with air traffic not expected to recover to pre-COVID levels before 2023 and potentially as late as 2025, Airbus now needs to take additional measures to reflect the post COVID-19 industry outlook.

Following the in-depth analysis of customer demand that has taken place over recent months, Airbus anticipates the need to adapt its global workforce due to COVID-19 by approximately:

  • 5,000 positions in France
  • 5,100 positions in Germany
  •    900 positions in Spain
  • 1,700 positions in the UK
  • 1,300 positions at Airbus’ other worldwide sites

These figures include the Airbus subsidiaries Stelia in France and Premium AEROTEC in Germany. However, they do not include approximately 900 positions stemming from a pre-COVID-19 identified need to restructure Premium AEROTEC in Germany, which will now be implemented within the frame of this global adaptation plan.

The details of this COVID-19 adaptation plan need to be finalised with social partners.

While compulsory actions cannot be ruled out at this stage, Airbus will work with its social partners to limit the impact of this plan by relying on all available social measures, including voluntary departures, early retirement, and long term partial unemployment schemes where appropriate.

“Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced,” said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury. “The measures we have taken so far have enabled us to absorb the initial shock of this global pandemic. Now, we must ensure that we can sustain our enterprise and emerge from the crisis as a healthy, global aerospace leader, adjusting to the overwhelming challenges of our customers. To confront that reality, we must now adopt more far-reaching measures. Our management team and our Board of Directors are fully committed to limiting the social impact of this adaptation. We thank our governmental partners as they help us preserve our expertise and know-how as much as possible and have played an important role in limiting the social impact of this crisis in our industry. The Airbus teams and their skills and competences will enable us to pursue our ambition to pioneer a sustainable future for aerospace.”

Airbus delivers 566 aircraft in 2020, down 34%

  • 566 commercial aircraft deliveries, 34 percent fewer than in 2019, in line with adaptation plan
  • 383 new aircraft orders, 268 net orders, 7,184 aircraft in backlog 

 

Airbus SE delivered 566 commercial aircraft to 87 customers in 2020, in line with the production adaptation plan set out in April 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, deliveries comprised:

  2020 (including) 2019 (including)
A220 Family 38   48  
A320 Family 446 (431 NEO) 642 (551 NEO)
A330 Family 19 (13 NEO) 53 (41 NEO)
A350 Family 59 (14 A350-1000) 112 (25 A350-1000)
A380 4   8  

In order to overcome international travel restrictions, the Airbus team developed an innovative e-delivery solution which represented more than 25% of the 2020 deliveries, allowing customers to receive their aircraft while minimizing the need for their teams to travel.

In 2020, Airbus recorded a total of 383 new orders, 268 net orders, showing continued  customer endorsements in all market segments. The A220 won 64 new orders, confirming it as the leading aircraft in its category. The A320 Family won 296 new orders including 37 A321XLR. In the wide body segment, Airbus won 23 new orders including two A330s and 21 A350s. After 115 cancellations by the end of 2020, Airbus’ backlog stood at 7,184 aircraft.

Airbus will report Full Year 2020 financial results on February 18, 2021.

Airbus reveals new zero-emission concept aircraft

Airbus has revealed three concepts for the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft which could enter service by 2035. These concepts each represent a different approach to achieving zero-emission flight, exploring various technology pathways and aerodynamic configurations in order to support the Company’s ambition of leading the way in the decarbonisation of the entire aviation industry.

All of these concepts rely on hydrogen as a primary power source – an option which Airbus believes holds exceptional promise as a clean aviation fuel and is likely to be a solution for aerospace and many other industries to meet their climate-neutral targets.

“This is a historic moment for the commercial aviation sector as a whole and we intend to play a leading role in the most important transition this industry has ever seen. The concepts we unveil today offer the world a glimpse of our ambition to drive a bold vision for the future of zero-emission flight,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO. “I strongly believe that the use of hydrogen – both in synthetic fuels and as a primary power source for commercial aircraft – has the potential to significantly reduce aviation’s climate impact.”

The three concepts – all codenamed “ZEROe” – for a first climate neutral zero-emission commercial aircraft include:

 

A turbofan design (120-200 passengers) with a range of 2,000+ nautical miles, capable of operating transcontinentally and powered by a modified gas-turbine engine running on hydrogen, rather than jet fuel, through combustion. The liquid hydrogen will be stored and distributed via tanks located behind the rear pressure bulkhead.

 

 

 

A turboprop design (up to 100 passengers) using a turboprop engine instead of a turbofan and also powered by hydrogen combustion in modified gas-turbine engines, which would be capable of traveling more than 1,000 nautical miles, making it a perfect option for short-haul trips.

 

A “blended-wing body” design (up to 200 passengers) concept in which the wings merge with the main body of the aircraft with a range similar to that of the turbofan concept. The exceptionally wide fuselage opens up multiple options for hydrogen storage and distribution, and for cabin layout.

“These concepts will help us explore and mature the design and layout of the world’s first climate-neutral, zero-emission commercial aircraft, which we aim to put into service by 2035,” said Guillaume Faury. “The transition to hydrogen, as the primary power source for these concept planes, will require decisive action from the entire aviation ecosystem. Together with the support from government and industrial partners we can rise up to this challenge to scale-up renewable energy and hydrogen for the sustainable future of the aviation industry.”

In order to tackle these challenges, airports will require significant hydrogen transport and refueling infrastructure to meet the needs of day-to-day operations. Support from governments will be key to meet these ambitious objectives with increased funding for research & technology, digitalisation, and mechanisms that encourage the use of sustainable fuels and the renewal of aircraft fleets to allow airlines to retire older, less environmentally friendly aircraft earlier.

Note to editors: To evaluate and validate these new concept aircraft and assess whether they could be matured into viable future products, Airbus will be focusing its efforts on a number of technological pathways. Grazia Vittadini, Chief Technology Officer, Jean-Brice Dumont, EVP Engineering and Glenn Llewellyn, VP Head of Zero Emission Aircraft, will reveal Airbus’ technology roadmap for 2020-2025 at 14:00 CEST, 21 September 2020 during a virtual event on Airbus social media channels.