Israel bans four-engine planes due to environmental concerns


The Boeing 747 at Cordoba airport in Argentina – Copyright AFP Paul Faith

Israel will ban Boeing 747s and similar four-engine aircraft starting March 31, 2023, to reduce noise and air pollution.

Israel Airports Authority (IAA) Director General Hagai Topolansky confirmed the measure on Sunday, saying:

“The increase in passenger and aircraft traffic at Ben Gurion Airport is an environmental challenge. I intend to lead the Airports Authority and Ben Gurion Airport not only in the areas of digitalization, but also to lead the environment and sustainability in the world of aviation, stopping the landing of the four-engined planes at Ben Gurion airport is a milestone and the first step in a larger plan which is currently being formulated.

According to Reuters, the directive primarily affects cargo planes since most, but not all, carriers have stopped using 747s and other four-engine planes on routes to Israel.

However, as part of its planning, the IAA has also told airlines that they will not be able to land large aircraft at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv from the 2023 summer season. .

Virgin Atlantic Airways Airbus A340-642. Source – shimin, CC SA 1.2.

Flag carrier El Al has already retired its 747 fleet and is using twin-engine Boeing 777s and 787s on long-haul routes. Competitors also use these Boeing planes or those of Airbus comparable to Ben Gurion, although 747s are still used by some for freight.

It will be interesting to see how other carriers react to the ban in the coming months,

Will the ban have the desired effect?

The IAA says it is introducing the ban due to environmental, noise and sustainability concerns. But four-engine planes aren’t always less environmentally friendly than their twin-engine counterparts.

For example, thanks to its large passenger capacity, the Airbus A380 consumes less fuel per passenger than many twin-engine aircraft.

Having four engines doesn’t necessarily mean the plane is noisier either – advanced technology means that engines in modern aircraft such as the Airbus A380 can be quieter than those in older twin-engine aircraft.

The Boeing 747 at Cordoba Airport in Argentina
The Boeing 747 at Cordoba airport in Argentina – Copyright AFP Paul Faith

The only 4-engine commercial airliner currently in production is the Boeing 747. Other 4-engine aircraft that can be seen are the Airbus A340 and the Airbus A380 double-decker.

The largest operators with 747 passengers are Lufthansa, Korean Air and Air China. 1,555 Boeing 747s have been built over the past 50 years and 455 are still in service today.

As of August 2020, there were only 12 outstanding orders for the 747-8 and production will end when these are delivered in the next few years.

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