Virgin Atlantic sees impressive gains in fuel efficiency and an 8% fall in emissions as a result of fleet changes

Tue 27 Jun 2017 – Following a slowdown in the overall fuel efficiency of its fleet in 2015, Virgin Atlantic Airways has rebounded with an impressive 8 per cent annual improvement last year, according to the airline’s latest Sustainability Report 2017. This is largely down to the positive impact of Boeing 787 aircraft entering the fleet in 2016, improved passenger load factors and other operational gains. Total CO2e aircraft emissions fell from 4.43 million tonnes in 2015 to 4.08 million tonnes in 2016, from a high of 5.22 million tonnes in 2007 when Virgin Atlantic set a target to reduce CO2 emissions by 30 per cent per revenue tonne-kilometre (RTK) by 2020. The 22 per cent reduction since 2007 is matched by a 17 per cent fall in CO2 per RTK and a 22 per cent drop in CO2 per passenger km over the past 10 years. This, says the airline, puts it well ahead of the industry’s annual fuel efficiency improvement target for the period up to 2020.

US domestic aviation emissions could increase 33-50% by 2030 as a result of Trump climate withdrawal

Tue 27 Jun 2017 – Although there has been recent speculation over the possibility of the United States not joining the voluntary phase of ICAO’s CORSIA carbon offsetting scheme as a result of President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, there are other implications for global aviation emissions. Pledges made by countries under the agreement must take into account reductions in domestic aviation emissions, which are not covered by CORSIA. Globally, domestic aviation emissions make up around 38 per cent of all aviation emissions, with the US responsible for nearly a half. According to research by Manchester Metropolitan University’s Centre for Aviation, Transport and the Environment (CATE), US domestic aviation emissions could rise by 33 to 50 per cent over 2005 levels if the US does not carry out its CO2 reduction plans and so heavily impact the sector’s overall emissions.

LAX and Gatwick step up recycling efforts with initiatives to turn airport waste into energy

Tue 2 May 2017 – Los Angeles International (LAX) and London Gatwick airports have started recycling initiatives to turn waste into either natural gas fuel or onsite energy use. In partnership with the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation (LASAN), LAX is beginning a 90-day pilot programme involving the collection of food waste from a targeted sample of airports restaurants and concessionaires, which will then be transported offsite for conversion into natural gas using an anaerobic digestion process. Solid and liquid organic waste that cannot be converted into methane gas will be converted into commercial-grade fertiliser. Gatwick Airport and DHL Supply Chain, meanwhile, have opened a new waste management plant, which they claim makes the airport the first in the world to turn both food and packaging waste into energy onsite.

Singapore Airlines aims to adopt regular usage of sustainable fuels as it starts first in a series of biofuel flights

Wed 3 May 2017 – Singapore Airlines has undertaken its first sustainable biofuel flight as part of a series of 12 ‘green package’ flights over a three-month period on the non-stop San Francisco to Singapore route. Operating its latest-generation and most fuel-efficient aircraft – the Airbus A350-900 – the airline claims the series of flights are the first in the world to combine the use of biofuels, fuel-efficient aircraft and optimised flight operations. The biofuel for the SQ31 flight is produced by AltAir Fuels from used cooking oil and supplied by SkyNRG in cooperation with North American Fuel Corporation (NAFCO), a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Aviation Oil (Singapore) and EPIC Fuels. The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) is facilitating the use of the optimised flight operations and air traffic management (ATM) best practices to reduce the fuel burn and carbon emissions from the flights.

JetBlue’s carbon emissions show 8 per cent growth last year but improvement in fuel efficiency performance

Fri 5 May 2017 – Carbon emissions from operations by US carrier JetBlue amounted to just under 7.5 million tonnes in 2016, an increasing of 8.4 per cent compared to the previous year as a result of higher passenger volume that saw revenue passenger miles rise by 9.3 per cent. Also contributing to the emissions increase, says JetBlue in its latest annual sustainability report, was a change in physical operating conditions as a result of congested airspace in the Northeast region of the United States causing increased fuel burn from occasional longer taxi times at airports. While emissions increased overall, however, the airline says its greenhouse gas intensity decreased by 0.62 per cent on the previous year and 4.9 per cent since its 2008 baseline reporting year. To meet CO2 reduction targets, JetBlue has set goals to save 500,000 gallons of fuel burn per year through enhanced technology, integrating biofuel into all flight operations and transitioning its airport ground equipment to all-electric where feasible. (Updated 15 May)

Hawaiian celebrates “100 Percent Day” as it passes milestone to reduce APU usage

Tue 23 May 2017 – Hawaiian Airlines has achieved a key fuel and carbon emissions objective of having all its wide-body aircraft arriving at airports on a single day to be connected with electrical power at the gate. In the past year, the carrier has been working towards a goal of having gate power available to its entire wide-body fleet within three minutes of arrival as aircraft fly between Hawaii, 11 US cities and 10 international destinations. Through significantly reducing usage of onboard auxiliary power units (APUs) by an estimated 30 minutes a flight, Hawaiian estimates it could save around 620,000 gallons of fuel annually and cut CO2 emissions by 5,933 tonnes – roughly enough fuel to fly the airline’s wide-body fleet for a day.

New technology and operational efficiencies help easyJet reduce emissions below 80 grams per passenger/km

Tue 23 May 2017 – Fuel efficiency gains at Europe’s second-largest airline easyJet have resulted in carbon emissions per passenger kilometre falling below 80 grams for the first time and are on track to be reduced by a third in 20 years, it says. The low-cost carrier attributes the milestone to improving technology and a continued long-term focus on reducing weight and improving operating efficiency. Since it began reporting on carbon emissions in 2000, easyJet’s emissions have reduced from 116.2 grams to 79.98 grams – a reduction of 31 per cent. It is now targeting a further reduction to around 77 grams by 2020 as new Airbus A320neo aircraft join the fleet.

ICAO in race to finalise CORSIA details as it concludes latest global outreach initiative

Fri 26 May 2017 – With barely 18 months before all countries with aircraft operators undertaking international flights are required to start monitoring carbon emissions, ICAO faces a major challenge in finalising the important standards that will underpin its global CORSIA carbon offsetting scheme. While 69 States have so far agreed to participate from the beginning of the pilot phase in 2021, many more will be affected by the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) requirements of the scheme. However, the ICAO leadership is confident that the draft standards are on course to be formally adopted in a year’s time, although concedes additional resources will be needed for the development and implementation of the scheme. The UN agency’s environment chief, Jane Hupe, told a recent seminar in Montreal that CORSIA should not be seen as a ‘carte blanche’ which allowed the sector to increase its emissions unchecked and the aim was to do everything possible to reduce aviation’s climate impact.

European airports’ carbon neutrality 2030 goal passes half way point as Gatwick and Lyon reach highest level

Wed 31 May 2017 – London Gatwick and Lyon-Saint Exupery have become the latest European airports to achieve the highest carbon-neutral level of the industry’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme. This brings the total of carbon neutral airports in Europe to 27, over half way to reaching an industry goal of 50 by 2030, with four other airports in Asia and one in North America also having reached Level 3+ neutrality. Lyon initially entered the programme at the first ‘Mapping’ level of the programme in 2013 and has since worked its way up through the four levels. To coincide with its announcement of reaching carbon neutrality status, Gatwick has published its ‘Decade of Change’ report for 2016 which charts progress against 10 environmental and community-focused targets the airport has set itself for the 2010-2020 period.

Lufthansa Cargo picks up environmental responsibility award for fuel-saving data tool

Thu 1 Jun 2017 – Lufthansa Cargo has received the 2017 DQS German Award for Excellence in the Environmental Responsibility category for its data collection tool OMEGA that provides key information for reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions. It was one of a number of awards made to businesses by global management systems certification body DQS for a commitment to sustainability practices. Developed by aviation software specialist Honeywell Aviaso together with Lufthansa, the Ops Monitor and Efficiency Gap Analyser (OMEGA) uses data collected during cargo flights to make future flights more fuel efficient by comparing projected, actual and optimal values. Pilots can use the analysis to best prepare for a flight and identify any deviations from the plan early on. The cargo carrier has a goal to reduce specific carbon emissions by 25 per cent by 2020 from a 2005 baseline.