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Sep 25, 2018,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

Pollution: Fuel efficiency means less legroom for passengers

A report commissioned by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) and focusing on 20 airlines covering North Atlantic routes has found that aircraft with large business and first-class seats consume far more fuel than those offering reduced legroom for passengers, with Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA ranked as the most fuel-efficient carrier of them all.

Airlines offering the least legroom for their passengers are the most fuel-efficient, according to a recent report commissioned by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) on 20 carriers traversing the North Atlantic. The report ranked carriers by passenger-kilometres per litre of jet fuel, with Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA – whose fleet comprises a number of Boeing 787 Dreamliners – coming out on top. British Airways was ranked last, as reported by Bloomberg.


Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA top of the class


The report also pointed to the large number of premium cabins. Though they are few and far between on aircraft operated by Norwegian and WOW Air, which top the fuel-efficiency list, the same cannot be said of British Airways and Deutsche Lufthansa AG, which have the highest fuel consumption rates and whose aircraft offer a large number of business- and first-class seats.

The results show that Norwegian flew a passenger 44km (27 miles) for each litre of jet fuel consumed, whereas British Airways managed only 27km (17 miles). The two carriers mostly fly the Boeing 787-8 and 747-400 respectively. 


British Airways targeting reduced emissions


In response to the report’s findings, British Airways – a member of the International Consolidated Airlines Group SA – said that it has improved fuel efficiency by 10 percent over the last decade. 

“We are investing heavily in modern, fuel-efficient aircraft, including the 787, A380 and A350, and by 2020 will have received more than 100 new aircraft in a decade,” spokeswoman Nicola Pearson said. “We are well on course to deliver a 25 percent improvement in carbon emissions reduction by 2025.”


US trio achieve similar performance


According to the report, the industry average was around 34km (21 miles), which was approximately the performance of the world’s two largest carriers, American Airlines Group Inc. (33km) and Delta Air Lines Inc. (34km), who were closely followed by United Continental (31km).

The three carriers accounted for 39 percent of airline traffic over the North Atlantic in 2017. The report also revealed that the Airbus A330 was the most widely deployed aircraft among the carriers represented, accounting for 25 percent of the total number of flights. Canadian Airlines were not included as they did not provide the necessary data.


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