BRITISH AIRWAYS TRIALS 3D PRINTING TO IMPROVE PUNCTUALITY AND REDUCE EMISSIONS

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WINDOWS, TRAY TABLES AND EVEN PLANES – BRITISH AIRWAYS TRIALS 3D PRINTING TO IMPROVE PUNCTUALITY AND REDUCE EMISSIONS CAUSED BY FLYING SPARE PARTS AROUND THE WORLD

December 09, 2019
  • British Airways’ tech experts say the possibilities for 3D printing in aviation are limitless and share predictions of how 3D printers could transform the industry
  • In the future machines could routinely be used to create aircraft parts, reducing delays for customers
  • Initiative is part of airline’s flightpath to net zero carbon emissions by 2050

British Airways is exploring the possibility of using 3D printers to create aircraft parts in the future. These printers would be located at airports around the world to reduce delays for customers and emissions caused by transporting items.

The airline’s innovators predict that non-essential cabin parts will be first on the list to be generated, including pieces of tray tables, entertainment systems and toilets. While these components do not impact the safe operation of the flight, they can reduce the number of seats or toilets available for customers and cause delays as engineers wait for the parts to be flown to wherever the aircraft is.

Ricardo Vidal, Head of Innovation at British Airways, says this area of technology has never been more important to ensure sustainability and a seamless travel experience:  “We work with start-ups and innovation partners from around the world to explore and implement the very latest technologies, from artificial intelligence to speed up turnaround times to biometrics, helping us to deliver a seamless airport experience for customers. 3D printing is yet another advancement that will keep us at the forefront of airline innovation.”

3D printing is an essential step towards the sustainable future of aviation, as the printers can produce parts that, while as strong and durable as traditional components, weigh up to 55 per cent less. Every kilogram removed saves up to 25 tons of CO2 emissions during the lifespan of an aircraft.

British Airways’ exploration of 3D printing follows the airline’s BA2119: Flight of the Future programme in celebration of it’s centenary. It’s research into the future of the customer experience suggested that within the next decade, biological scanners gathering travellers’ physiological and nutritional needs could suggest food and drink to meet individual requirements and print these on board the aircraft. In addition, the research predicts that jet lag could become be a thing of the past, with 3D printers producing personalised health supplements.

British Airways’ top ten predictions for how 3D printing could be used by airline’s in the future:

1.                   Cutlery

2.                   Products for amenity kits, such as toothbrushes or combs

3.                   Tray tables

4.                   Aircraft windows

5.                   Inflight entertainment screens

6.                   Seats

7.                   Baggage containers

8.                   Circuit boards for electrical components

9.                   Flight deck switches

10.                 Aircraft shells

Source: British Airways

British Airways Turning Household Rubbish into Jet Fuel

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Sustainable fuels will play an increasingly critical role in global aviation

Heathrow, September 18, 2017: British Airways has entered a partnership to design a series of waste plants that convert household waste into renewable jet fuel to power its fleet.

The partnership, with Velocys, a renewable fuels company, is part of the airline’s plans to develop long-term, sustainable fuel options.

The first plant will take hundreds of thousands of tons of household waste per-year, destined for landfill or incineration, including nappies, plastic food containers and chocolate bar wrappers, and convert it into clean-burning, sustainable fuels. This will contribute to the airline’s commitment to reduce net emissions by 50 per cent by 2050.

As well as helping the airline industry reduce its carbon emissions this initiative will also significantly reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. The UK still sends more than 15 million tons of waste per year to landfill sites which not only damages our natural environment but also releases further greenhouse gases (GHG) affecting climate change.

The planned plant will produce enough fuel to power all British Airways’ 787 Dreamliner operated flights from London to San Jose, California and New Orleans, Louisiana for a whole year. It would be the first plant of this scale. The airline plans to supply its aircraft fleet with increasing amounts of sustainable jet fuel in the next decade.

The jet fuel produced at the plant will deliver more than 60 per cent greenhouse gas reduction, compared with conventional fossil fuel, delivering 60,000 tons of CO2 savings every year. This will contribute to both global carbon emissions reductions and local air quality improvements around major airports.

During the past week the Department for Transport has published changes to the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO), and for the first time, sustainable jet fuel will be included in its incentive scheme. These changes to the RTFO are designed to promote sustainable aviation. Once implemented, they are expected to provide long term policy support for this market.

Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, said: “Sustainable fuels will play an increasingly critical role in global aviation, and we are preparing for that future. Turning household waste into jet fuel is an amazing innovation that produces clean fuel while reducing landfill.”

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Source: British Airways

Successful Noise Reduction at Heathrow Airport

‘Fly Quiet’ league table ranks 50 airlines on noise

Heathrow, November 15, 2016:  A new report released by Heathrow ranks British Airways’ short-haul fleet as the quietest flying to the west London airport. The latest Heathrow Fly Quiet league table also shows the impact of the airport’s policies incentivizing airlines to fly their cleanest and quietest aircraft to Heathrow as the number of super-quiet Airbus A350 flights doubled and Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights have risen by 19 per cent.

Qatar Airways last week became the third carrier to fly the super-quiet Airbus plane, which made its debut last year, joining Finnair and Ethiopian on the London route, increasing the daily number of A350 flights to six. The A350’s noise footprint is about 50% smaller than its predecessor models and is contributing to a better noise environment for local communities. Twenty-one of Heathrow’s airlines have ordered A350s.

Meanwhile, Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights increased from 6,300 to 7,500 over the three-month period to October.

British Airways short-haul – the airport’s biggest – is also the quietest fleet flying into Heathrow, with the UK’s flag carrier reporting exceptional performance thanks to noise-reducingenhancements to its fleet of Airbus A320 planes and operating procedures that take noise over the ground into consideration.

Singapore Airlines climbed 21 places to 19th thanks to its use of quieter aircraft and improved procedures.

super-quiet Airbus A350

Due to the ‘Fly Quiet’ program super-quiet Airbus A350 flights doubled at Heathrow airport in Q3, 2016

Commenting on the report, Heathrow’s Chief Executive, John Holland-Kaye said: “The Fly Quiet program helps airlines improve their noise performance and provides incentives for them to fly their newest, quietest aircraft to Heathrow, helping the airport be a better neighbor.  “We will continue to work with airlines and local communities to be a leader in sustainable aviation.”

Source: Heathrow Airport