Does the Airbus A380 superjumbo pollute much more than the A350?

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The simple answer to the question above is YES. An analysis conducted by the Qatar Airways team of engineers compared the performance of the Airbus A380 to that of the A350 on routes from Doha to London, Guangzhou, Frankfurt, Paris, Melbourne, Sydney and New York.

Although it looks like an “unfair” analysis of a more modern twin engine against a four-engine engine for a few years longer, in times of pandemic it makes sense, since the demand for international travel remains at its lowest levels and Qatar argues that it is not worth it worth flying with the A380 “empty” just for marketing, while criticizing its competitor Emirates for that.

This analysis also served as a basis for the Doha-based company to remove the A380 from the agenda for the coming months.

Who pollutes more

The engineers concluded that, on a normal one-way flight, the A350 aircraft dumped at least 16 tons of carbon dioxide per hour less into the atmosphere, compared to what was spent by the A380 superjumbo on the same route. According to Qatar, this means that the A380 emitted 80% more CO2 per hour than the A350 on each of these routes.

In the cases of Melbourne and New York, the A380 emitted 95% more CO2 per hour than the A350, which in turn saved about 20 tonnes of CO2 per hour. This difference was due to the presence of air masses, which made both planes consume more fuel, while the A350 performed better for its aerodynamics and engine technology.

The analyzes were conducted with the aircraft performing commercial flights and the results are the averages obtained. With this, the engineers sought to eliminate variations in the number of passengers transported on the routes and to reduce the impact of different weather conditions (such as variations in the winds, for example).

With that, Qatar concluded that “there is no point in returning with the A380 until passenger demand returns to adequate levels and that its option is to maintain only commercially and environmentally responsible aircraft,” the company said in a note.


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