British Airways’ short-haul fleet topped Heathrow’s ‘Fly Quiet and Green’ league table based for its environmental performance in the first quarter of the year.

The flag carrier’s long-haul fleet also featured among the top ten in the list of 50 airlines, moving ten places up to sixth due to improved track keeping and fewer early and late departures.

Other top performers included SAS, which remained in second place, and United Airlines, which climbed up seven places since the previous quarter to third place.

Icelandair returned to the league table after a two year hiatus, in 32nd place.

Kuwait Airways, El Al and Malaysia Airlines came bottom of the list.

BA short-haul hit the top spot because of improved track keeping by aircraft and increased use of continuous decent approach.

The former means that the fleet is consistently keeping to the routes designated by air traffic controllers, helping to guarantee periods of noise respite for local communities.

The latter means that the airline is making more efficient use of its engines on landing.

Combined, these actions help to reduce fuel burn and ensure that these aircraft are flying more quietly and accurately, according to Heathrow.

The league table also takes into account the emissions per seat, the amount of noise generated in relation to the number of passengers it is able to carry, aircraft age and emissions standards – with newer types such as Boeing 787s and Airbus 350s among the most green and quiet.

Heathrow CEO John Holland Kaye said: “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.

“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.”