Magazine article Geographical

Which Aircraft Is More Environmentally Friendly, the Airbus A380 or the Boeing 7E7?

Magazine article Geographical

Which Aircraft Is More Environmentally Friendly, the Airbus A380 or the Boeing 7E7?

Article excerpt

Weight is the main factor when it comes to determining how much fuel an aeroplane will burn and, therefore, how much carbon dioxide it pumps out into the upper atmosphere. At present, it's difficult to calculate how much greener either aircraft will be, because neither company has specified their weight. Boeing says the 7E7 will use 20 per cent less fuel on a flight than one of today's airliners, and Airbus claims the A380 will burn less fuel because it will be lighter.

About half of the weight of the average plane is the machine itself: the rest is the fuel, the passengers and the cargo. So, all you can do to improve fuel efficiency is reduce the ratio of empty weight of the plane to that of a plane plus its load. Based on estimates, the 7E7 has a better ratio than the A380 as there is about eight per cent less plane per person based on what the companies call typical passenger numbers. For the A380, that means 550 people rather than the 800 theoretical maximum. Put more than 620 people in it by taking out the bars and the beds on the top deck and the A380's efficiency starts to look better. …

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