The A380 produces half the noise of its nearest rival when taking off2, despite carrying more passengers, and as little as a quarter of the noise when landing. The world’s biggest passenger aircraft also burns less fuel per passenger. Heathrow charges the quietest and greenest planes less to land at the airport, and this encouragement is helping to bring more A380s to West London, with benefits for local residents3.
As the UK’s only hub airport, Heathrow’s runways are full with no space for planes to fly to new destinations. Although the bigger planes don’t create the new routes to emerging economies that are so vital to UK jobs and trade, they do mean airlines can make better use of their existing slots. That’s one of the reasons British Airways have ordered 12 of the aircraft with flights due to start next year.
Since 2008, the nine A380s operating from Heathrow have between them carried more than six million passengers on over 15,000 flights to and from the airport.
Heathrow has had to undergo extensive remodelling to accommodate the A380s. The plane’s 80m wingspan has meant upgrading both taxiways and stands.
Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s Sustainability Director, said:
“The A380 is a vital piece in the jigsaw for the airport. It’s part of our constant drive to encourage the quietest and greenest planes to come to Heathrow as we try to reduce still further the impact of the airport on the local community. ”
1) The inaugural A380 flight took place on 25th October 2007 with a Singapore Airlines flight from Singapore to Sydney.
2) From Airbus website: ‘The A380 carries 42% more passengers than the 747-400 but produces half the noise energy when taking off; and three to four times less noise energy when landing. The A380 burns 17% less fuel per seat than the 747-400. And 17% less fuel equals 17% less CO2 emissions, making the A380 the most environmentally friendly aircraft.’
3) Heathrow / CAA analysis of planes at the airport show that A380s are 5-7dbA quieter than Boeing 747-400 on departures, and 2-5dbA quieter on arrivals with a noise footprint 40% smaller.