Airbus will renew its entire fleet of chartered vessels that transport aircraft subassemblies between production facilities in Europe and the USA with three, low-emission ro-ro vessels, supported by wind-assisted propulsion.

Airbus- Rendering of the new fleet of wind assisted vessels

Source: Copyright Louis Dreyfus Armateurs / Airbus

A rendering of the new vessel, chartered by Airbus and operated by Louis Dreyfus Armateurs.

Airbus said that it has commissioned shipowner Louis Dreyfus Armateurs to build, own and operate these new, highly efficient vessels that will enter into service from 2026. Nicolas Chrétien, head of sustainability and environment at Airbus, said: “The latest generation of vessels proposed by Louis Dreyfus Armateurs are more fuel efficient than their predecessors, using cutting-edge technologies like wind-assisted propulsion. This demonstrates our determination to lead the way in decarbonising our sector by innovating not just in aviation, but across all our industrial operations.”

The vessels will be powered by a combination of six Flettner rotors – large, rotating cylinders that generate lift thanks to the wind, propelling the ship forward – and two dual-fuel engines running on maritime diesel oil and e-methanol. Additionally, routing software will optimise the vessels’ journey across the Atlantic, maximising wind propulsion and avoiding drag caused by adverse ocean conditions.

The new fleet is expected to reduce average annual transatlantic CO2 emissions from 68,000 to 33,000 tonnes by 2030. This will contribute to Airbus’ commitment to reduce its overall industrial emissions by up to 63 percent by the end of the decade – compared to 2015 as baseline year – in line with the 1.5°C pathway of the Paris Agreement.