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By Heathrow
  • SAS takes the top spot for the third consecutive quarter, as the airline invests in greener and quieter A320neos and optimises their operational performance
  • Heathrow is one of the world’s first major aviation hubs to become carbon neutral, for its infrastructure, and the first to target zero carbon by the mid-2030s. Today the airport launches an eight point plan to achieve this  
  • Since the launch of ‘Fly Quiet and Green’ league table in 2014, Heathrow’s emissions standard has improved by a third

Today, Heathrow announces that Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) has taken the top spot in ‘Fly Quiet and Green’ league table for Q4. The airline has now held pole position three consecutive quarters, highlighting the carrier’s efforts to improve operational performance and invest in greener and quieter A320neos. 

A320neos have modified wing tips, reducing the fuel burn and enabling them to fly more efficiently. The next generation aircraft makes up seven per cent of flights from Heathrow and are used by eight of the airlines based at the airport including British Airways, SAS, Lufthansa, Air Malta, Iberia and TAP, who all feature in the top 20 of this quarter’s ‘Fly Quiet and Green’ league table.   

SAS was closely followed by Air Malta, which climbed three positions up to second place in the final quarter of 2020. Air Malta has also been deploying new A320neos over the course of 2019 and the airline has also been maintaining its strong operational performance by practicing Continuous Decent Approach and avoiding late or early arrivals. Oman Air came third in Q4, and was the airport’s strongest long-haul carrier.

The biggest mover for Q4 was Austrian Airlines who climbed 16 places, going from 28th place to the 12th spot. The airline’s investment in A320’s has significantly lifted their scores, coupled with a reduction in late and early rivals that has helped to drive the improvement. 

This announcement coincides with the launch of Heathrow’s eight point plan for going carbon zero by the mid-2030s. Heathrow became one of the world’s first aviation hubs to become carbon neutral, for its infrastructure, and now the hub airport is going even further, by being the first to create a plan to go zero carbon. The plan discusses the investments Heathrow will continue to make in its infrastructure, as well as how the airport will work with business and industry partners to decarbonise flight and ground operations. 

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said, “Over the past decade Heathrow has laid the groundwork for carbon neutral growth by creating the Fly Quiet and Green league table, investing in the restoration of UK peatlands to offset emissions and starting work on airspace modernisation that will reduce emissions in flight."

"Aviation is a force for good and we are working closely with the industry to ensure that emissions are net zero by 2050.”

Lars Andersen Resare, Head of Sustainability at SAS, added, “SAS is committed to reducing its emissions by 25 percent in 2030 and is continuously developing more sustainable products and services."

"Without our dedicated staff and their fantastic work, across all our operations, this wouldn’t be possible.”

Fly Quiet and Green league table helped to bring this issue to the fore in 2014 and has since played a key role in the transformation of fleets at Heathrow. The replacement of older aircraft types for newer, cleaner and quieter ones such as A350, A320neos and 787 Dreamliners has reduced the airport’s CAEP score (emission standard) by a third. Operational metrics have also played a big role in providing respite to local communities with many airlines improving their track keeping and adopting Continuous Decent Approach.