Heathrow adds emissions along with noise metrics to its airline performance league table
Etihad flies the A380 to Heathrow three times daily (photo: Etihad)
Wed 21 Jun 2017 – Heathrow Airport has extended its quarterly ‘Fly Quiet League Table’ to include for the first time the emissions performance as well as the noise performance of airlines serving the airport. The 50 busiest airlines at Heathrow are now publicly ranked on their efforts to reduce emissions from the aircraft they use for operations at the airport. A new metric has also been introduced that takes into account unscheduled night flights operating between 11.30pm and 4.30am. The league table has tracked airline noise performance since 2013 and is credited with incentivising airlines to use their quieter aircraft types and operating procedures at Heathrow. Based on data from January to March, British Airways short-haul, Aer Lingus and Etihad Airways were judged to be the cleanest and quietest fleets at the airport.
The two new emissions-based criteria scores the type of engines used by aircraft and the efficiencies of aircraft NOx emissions per seat. Better scores are given to aircraft that are compliant with the more recent and stringent standards produced and published by ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP). The score is based on the certification for a single engine so, for example, a twin-engined aircraft compliant with CAEP 6 standard gets the same score as a four-engined aircraft with engines compliant with the same standard.
Regarding the NOx efficiency metric, for each arrival and departure the total mass of NOx emissions is calculated, based on the certified values and accounting for the number of engines for the aircraft associated with individual flights. The aggregate of certified NOx emissions for all flights of an airline are then divided by the aggregate seat capacity.
“While the main contributor to local pollution remains road traffic, Heathrow is playing its part to improve air quality by reducing emissions from its vehicles, buildings and aircraft,” commented Matt Gorman, the airport’s Director of Sustainability. “We are excited to add a whole new dimension to the league table and have another tool to help airlines reduce their impact on air quality. Together, we can play our part to improve our local environment and help the UK and London governments meet their air quality targets.”
As well as the new emissions metrics, the other metrics measure noise quota per seat, noise certification (ICAO Chapter number), continuous descent approach violations, track keeping violations and early or late movements between 23:30 and 04:30. Each metric is assigned a RAG (red, amber or green) status based on the performance bands set for that indicator so that operators towards the top of the table will have more green scores than those towards the bottom. Amber indicates airlines have met minimum performance targets and green that they have exceeded them. Heathrow says it works closely with those airlines with a red status in a particular category.
In third place behind British Airways’ short-haul operations and Aer Lingus, Etihad Airways operates an Airbus A380 three times a day between Abu Dhabi and Heathrow. The airline said its 2.5% fuel efficiency improvement across the business in 2016 amounted to a cut of nearly 190,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions over the previous year, the equivalent of 1,200 flights between Abu Dhabi and London.
“In addition to safety, our pilots are trained to focus on efficient flying, especially into busy airports like Heathrow. So it is very pleasing to be placed at the top of the first Fly Quiet and Clean table,” said Etihad’s SVP Operations, Rick Allen. “This attention to detail brings great benefits in terms of lowering fuel usage and reducing noise. We will continue to work closely with the airport authorities and aim to stay at the top of the league of airlines operating into Heathrow.”