Singapore Airlines – the first carrier to operate the Airbus A380 twin-decked airliner - is breaking new ground at one of the busiest airports in the world. The airline – it emerged on March 5th 2010 – has now been approved to adjust the way it currently flies A380s out of Heathrow, and the benefits of its new departure profile include reduced noise pollution and increased fuel efficiency.
For more than 12 months, Singapore Airlines has been collaborating with three key parties: A380 manufacturer Airbus, airport operating group BAA (which owns Heathrow) and NATS – National Air Traffic Services.
As a result of its work, the new style of A380 departure has now been put in motion and, consequently, individual fuel savings are now being achieved of approximately 300 kilograms per aircraft. According to Airbus, nitrogen oxide emissions are being reduced by 10 per cent, too.
Singapore Airlines: Airbus A380
Singapore Airlines operates 10 Airbus A380s and a similar number of older Boeing 747-400s. According to an Airbus representative, experience in operating the earlier type out of Heathrow dictated the approach adopted for initial London Heathrow Airport A380 flight operations.
“When the airline introduced the A380 at Heathrow in March 2008, it continued with the procedure developed for its Boeing 747-400s to comply with London noise limits, which was to use TOGA take-off/go around [full] thrust for maximum climb”, engineer Nicolas Mourney told weekly aerospace publication Flight International.
”After positive feedback with regards to acoustic performance, the captain suggested a revised procedure using the 'Flex' flexible lower thrust take-off setting”, he added.
A380 Heathrow Departure
The revised A380 Heathrow departure capitalises on its low noise output and overall performance. It sees the aircraft using less power during the take off itself and – once it has climbed to 1,500 feet – flexible acceleration is used for the next 2,500 feet.
“The Airbus A380 is already the most fuel efficient aircraft in commercial service, burning 17 per cent less fuel per passenger than other large aircraft”, Heathrow’s Operational Noise and Air Quality Manager stated. “By 2020 one in ten flights at Heathrow could use A380s. It is important that we work constantly with our airlines to improve operating processes, and the introduction of these new departure procedures demonstrates our commitment to reducing emissions.”
BAA has said it will discuss Singapore Airlines’ A380 Heathrow Airport operations with the other airlines that fly this aircraft in and out of the airport – Australian carrier Qantas, and Dubai flagship airline Emirates. “We look to work with all airlines in order to minimise noise and emissions through optimal departure procedures”, the airline commented in a statement.
The Airbus A380 is a four-engined airliner that first flew in April 2005 and entered airline service approximately two-and-a-half years later. It has the accolade of being the largest commercial aircraft in current scheduled service.