Inspenet, October 29, 2023.
In order to fulfill its commitment to the sustainable aerospace industry and reduce the carbon footprint of its industrial activities, Airbus plans to modernize its maritime transport fleet used in the transatlantic transfer of assembled components.
The plan, detailed in an official statement, establishes a comprehensive strategy for reducing carbon dioxide emissions and improving environmental sustainability in the aerospace industry.
Low-emission vessels in the Airbus fleet
Starting in 2026, Airbus plans to introduce three new roll-on/roll-off vessels specially designed for efficient transportation of aircraft components between its production facilities in Europe and the United States. These vessels stand out for their low-emission propulsion system , which combines marine diesel, e-methanol and technology assisted by wind energy.
The inclusion of wind propulsion, involving six Flettner rotors, represents an innovative initiative that reflects the company’s commitment to reducing the carbon footprint in its industry.
This new fleet is expected to reduce annual carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions on transatlantic voyages from 68,000 to 33,000 tons by 2030. This is aligned with Airbus’ commitment to decrease its total industrial emissions by 63% by the end of the decade, compared to 2015 levels as a baseline.
The use of Flettner rotors, which are high-altitude rotating cylinders capable of generating lift through the force of the wind, will optimize the movements of ships through the Atlantic Ocean. This innovative technology seeks to maximize the propulsion generated by the wind while minimizing the resistance caused by difficult maritime conditions.
This significant improvement to Airbus’ maritime fleet will enable a 50% reduction in fuel consumption and carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions for its transatlantic fleet by 2030, compared to 2023 baseline levels. By 2040, Airbus estimates that each of the three new ships will emit only 5,000 tons of CO 2 , which represents a substantial reduction in their environmental impact.
Each of the new transatlantic vessels will have the capacity to carry nearly seventy 40-foot containers and six single-aisle aircraft subassemblies, resulting in a significant improvement in the efficiency of Airbus’ assembly process. This increased capacity supports Airbus’ ambitious production ramp-up plan and opens up opportunities to address the transportation needs of other Airbus divisions and partners, including humanitarian aid initiatives carried out by the Airbus Foundation.
The renewal of Airbus’ maritime fleet represents a transformation in the way the aviation industry approaches emissions reduction, demonstrating a comprehensive commitment to sustainability that spans from the production stage to transportation. Airbus is committed to setting new standards of environmental responsibility in the aerospace sector as it embarks on this journey towards sustainability.