British Airways’ short-haul operation at Heathrow has topped the airport’s latest “Fly Quiet and Green” league table.
BA pipped SAS Scandinavian Airlines to the top spot during the first quarter (January to March) closely followed by United Airlines and Aer Lingus.
The league table is based on each individual airline’s environmental performance during the quarter, such as reducing noise and unnecessary fuel burn.
Heathrow said BA came out on top on account of it sticking to routes designated by air traffic control ensuring noise respite for local communities and making more efficient use of its engines while descending and landing.
“BA’s position in this league table sets a strong example for other airlines to follow,” said Heathrow. “If the biggest carrier can make changes at scale, so can others.”
BA’s long-haul operation was ranked sixth in the table. SAS maintained second place, while United climbed from seventh to third. Icelandair returned to the table, meanwhile, after a two-year hiatus in 32nd spot.
The league table also takes into account emissions per seat, noise generated by an aircraft relative to the number of passengers it can carry, the age of the fleet and emissions standards.
Heathrow says the league table is among its measures to incentivise airlines to operate their quieter, greener aircraft at Heathrow. Others include restructuring the airport’s environmental charges in 2017, with newer, cleaner aircraft charged up to four times less to encourage the use of more sustainable fleets.
It comes as Heathrow prepares to set out how it plans to expand via a third runway in an environmentally sustainable manner that meets the requirement bestowed on its expansion plans via the new Airports National Policy Statement.
“As we prepare for growth, work continues apace with our airlines and the wider industry to ensure our plans for carbon neutral growth become reality,” said Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye.
“Building the third runway is not a choice between expansion and the economy – it will enable the UK to flourish post Brexit, whilst mitigating against the worst effects of climate change.
“If the industry works together to decarbonise the sector we can still travel to all corners of the world on more sustainable planes, having flown from carbon neutral airports.”