Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Norwegian is the most fuel-efficient airline on transatlantic routes and British Airways is the worst

A new white paper report from The International Council on Clean Transportation analysing the fuel efficiency of the 20 leading airlines on routes between Europe and the United States during 2017 has been released today.

According to the study, the long-haul low-cost airline Norwegian was the most-fuel efficient carrier across the Atlantic on sample routes from New York to London, Los Angeles to London and New York to Paris. In fact, on the New York to London route, Norwegian’s competition including Virgin Atlantic, American, Delta, United and British Airways burned 33% to 78% more fuel per passenger-km. The results show that British Airways, which ranked last in the results, burned a staggering 63% more fuel per passenger kilometre than Norwegian, a marked increase since the last assessment in 2014. Additionally, Norwegian has reduced its per passenger emissions by 30% since 2008, thanks to its investment in new aircraft.

The report also showed Norwegian, on average, achieved 44 passenger kilometres (pax-km/L), which is 33% higher than the industry average - soaring past 19 of its competitors. Norwegian, flies one of the youngest fleets in the world, comprised of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, 737-800s and 737-MAXs.

Read on for more details including the reports airline comparisons.



“The most important thing that an airline can do for the environment is to invest in newer aircraft which use the latest technology to be as fuel efficient as possible. Our strategy to have a modern fleet is paying dividends not only for our business and customers, but also our planet. This recognition from ICCT is truly the highest form of industry praise and is validation that we’re moving in the right direction with more environmentally friendly planes. For customers, this offers yet another reason to fly with us, to help reduce their carbon footprint.” said Bjørn Kjos, CEO of Norwegian.

“One of the biggest changes in the transatlantic market between 2014 and 2017 was an increase in operations from European low-cost carriers and the further utilisation of newer, fuel-efficient aircraft,” said ICCT’s Brandon Graver, lead author of the study.


The ICCT chart on the airline comparisons on average fuel economy. 

British Airways says that they are the leading premier airline across the Atlantic, that they have the greatest number of business and first class seats on its aircraft, which is why they seem less fuel efficient when compared to other airlines. The airline also claims it will have 100 newer more fuel-efficient aircraft joining its fleet during the next ten years, “We are investing heavily in modern, fuel-efficient aircraft, including the 787 and A350,  We are well on course to deliver a 25 % improvement in carbon emissions reduction by 2025.”

Our chief aviation correspondent Jason Shaw says it is not surprising Norwegian is leading the way, "Norwegian has a high load-factor on transatlantic flights, it also operates a fleet of some of the youngest and therefore the most fuel-efficient aircraft of any airline in the world.  The average ages of its planes is just a little less than 3.7 years old.".

The most fuel-efficient aircraft on the transatlantic routes measured by the ICCT white paper report was the Airbus A350-900, followed by Boeing's 787-9 Dreamliner.  Full details of the report can be found here

The International Council on Clean Transportation is an independent nonprofit organisation founded to provide first-rate, unbiased research and technical and scientific analysis to environmental regulators. Its mission is to improve the environmental performance and energy efficiency of road, marine, and air transportation, to benefit public health and mitigate climate change.
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