27 October 2023
by Alex Brinded

Airbus renews transatlantic fleet with lower-emission ships

The ships are estimated to generate 50% fewer carbon-dioxide emissions by 2030, compared to 2023.

Rendering of the new vessel, chartered by Airbus and operated by Louis Dreyfus Armateurs © Louis Dreyfus Armateurs / Airbus

Airbus is replacing the entire fleet of charterd vessels that transport aircraft subassemblies between production facilities in Europe and the US with three low-emission roll-on/roll-off vessels, supported by wind-assisted propulsion.

Louis Drefus Armateurs will build, own and operate these vessels which will enter the service from 2026.

Airbus says the new fleet is expected to reduce the average annual transatlantic CO2 emissions from 68,000 to 33,000t by 2030. The aviation company has commited to reduce its overall industrial emissions by up to 63% in the same time frame, compared to 2015 as a baseline year.

The new vessels will be powered by a combination of six Flettner rotors - large, rotating cvyclinders tthat generate lift from wind - and two dual-fuel engines running on maritime diesel oil and e-methanol. The company says routing software will optimise Atlantic crossings, maximising wind propulsion and avoiding draf from adverse ocean conditions.

Airbus will gradually renew the chartered vessels that ferry its aircraft subassemblies across the Atlantic between Saint-Nazaire, France, and its single-aisle aircraft final assembly line in Mobile, Alabama.


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Alex Brinded

Staff Writer