The formation of pollutant emissions in jet engines is closely related to the fuel distribution inside the combustor. Hence, the characteristics of the spray formed during primary breakup are of major importance for an accurate prediction of the pollutant emissions. Currently, an Euler–Lagrangian approach for droplet transport in combination with combustion and pollutant formation models is used to predict the pollutant emissions. The missing element for predicting these emissions more accurately is well defined starting conditions for the liquid fuel droplets as they emerge from the fuel nozzle. Recently, it was demonstrated that the primary breakup can be predicted from first principles by the Lagrangian, mesh-free, Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) method. In the present work, 2D Direct Numerical Simulations (DNS) of a planar prefilming airblast atomizer using the SPH method are presented, which capture most of the breakup phenomena known from experiments. Strong links between the ligament breakup and the resulting spray in terms of droplet size, trajectory and velocity are demonstrated. The SPH predictions at elevated pressure conditions resemble quite well the effects observed in experiments. ... mehrSignificant interdependencies between droplet diameter, position and velocity are observed. This encourages to employ such multidimensional interdependence relations as a base for the development of primary atomization models.