It feels like forever, but at last, we have the crucial update to the T2 dataset. This source provides more gems than most others.  It is from this database that we developed our Carbon Model.

Since we developed this model about a month ago, we have updated it to include turboprops.  The layout also changed.  Aircraft are now listed from the best to the worst (by category) and we use color to highlight the numbers. The sparklines show the trend over time (since 2010) and the red dot is the high point on each line.

Notes:

  • Boeing wins the best slots for single-aisle and twin-aisle which is great news for that OEM.
  • Turboprops have, no surprise, small carbon footprints. Considering these aircraft are all “old”, one can imagine how well a newer model with newer engines would perform.
  • Regional jets are at a disadvantage since their flight patterns are like an upside-down V. Short hops under 500 miles with little time at cruise. This means a poor carbon footprint.  Relative to, say single-aisles, on average, regional jets have a 51% larger carbon footprint.
  • Single-aisle aircraft fall into a loose bracket around engine generation. The latest models have excellent carbon footprints, with the MAX9 handily ahead of its nearest rival. 
    • The A320neo rates better than the A321neo because, in the US, the ULCCs utilize A320neos with almost as many seats as the A321neo has at network airlines.
    • The A220-100 rates rather poorly because Delta uses it on short hops like a regional jet. Note how well the A220-300 does by comparison.
  • Twin aisle aircraft are big and heavy, so they burn more fuel. Even with many hours at cruise, their carbon footprint is higher than for single-aisles.
    • Note the 787-10 competes with the average single-aisle on carbon footprint. Which is an excellent result.
    • Though Boeing wins the category, Airbus has a remarkable result with the next four slots.
    • The A330-900 rates slightly better than the A350-900 – that will set a few tongues wagging, and delight Rolls-Royce.
    • The 787-9 and -8 rank lower than we expected. We expected these two to be in the “green”.
    • The 777-300ER is at the bottom of the list and this is because seats were removed for a while to utilize its freight capabilities.  We expect to see the footprint decline considerably in 2022.
    • Since twin aisles carry a lot of belly freight, the current ratings do not recognize this.  We are using seat counts.  We are considering a fairer approach for the next iteration that will add in the belly freight to get a carbon footprint per pound of payload. This should reduce the twin aisles’ footprint considerably.

Summary

  • .For most segments we see the red dot is well back on the sparkling.  That means the segment is doing better over time.  The twin aisles do not have that because these aircraft had seats removed for a while as they were carrying freight on the regular floor space.
  • The latest generation aircraft deliver the best numbers.  This is confirmation that deploying the newest aircraft is the fastest way for an airline to cut its carbon footprint.
  • The regional aircraft segment is in dire need of a solution that utilizes state-of-the-art engines. This is not necessarily a limit driven by Scope Clause.
  • Turboprops are effective even if they are relatively older in technology terms. Will electric and electro-hybrids may play a role in replacing these models within the decade?
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Co-Founder AirInsight. My previous life includes stints at Shell South Africa, CIC Research, and PA Consulting. Got bitten by the aviation bug and ended up an Avgeek. Then the data bug got me, making me a curious Avgeek seeking data-driven logic. Also, I appreciate conversations with smart people from whom I learn so much. Summary: I am very fortunate to work with and converse with great people.

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