The most significant source of direct greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) generated by Air France activities is linked to the flight operations.
Reducing our CO2 emissions goes hand in hand with fuel use reduction. Therefore, one of the focus points in our environmental policy is to reduce the use of fuel. Operating with more fuel-efficient aircraft, implementing weight reduction measures on board, optimizing flight routes and improving flight operations all contribute to the reduction of fuel use.
Secondly, we believe that the use of sustainable alternative fuels is an important factor in further reducing our CO2 emissions. Consequently, both Air France and KLM have policies in place that stimulate the development and use of those. Currently, there is not enough supply to operate fully on sustainable alternative fuels. Therefore, carbon offsetting is a mid-way option to reduce our environmental footprint.
By investing in a modern, more energy- and fuel-efficient fleet, we are improving both our economic and environmental performance. Over the coming years, the modernization of the fleet will be reflected in the retirement of the A340 and their replacement with B787, and the entry into revenue service of the first A350-900s.
We pursue a pro-active policy of fleet renewal and modernization, thereby contributing to the improvement of our energy efficiency and a reduction of our environmental footprint. In 2018:
- Air France: in long-haul, three A340s retired from the fleet list, and were replaced with two new B787-9s. In medium-haul, four old generation A319s were withdrawn. Air France added a new A320 Sharklet.
- HOP!: seven ATR42/72-500s were withdrawn from the fleet and replaced with the first of seven additional new Embraer 190s
- Transavia France: additional five B737-800s.
For its part, Transavia France and Netherlands will see its fleet adapted to the growth market in the leisure segment.
Our fuel savings plans
We identify and implement every possible fuel saving measures, subject to strict rules for flight safety. All the departments are involved in the Air France-KLM Fuel Plan, so that the Group can improve its energy efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint.
By analysing flight performance, the Fuel Plan aims to reduce fuel use through various projects, focusing on: fuel policies, fuel standards, accurate planning information, route optimization, and weight reduction.
At Air France, to face new environmental and economic challenges, the new Flight Efficiency 2020 project was built on previous achievements, seizes new opportunities, and lies on the latest innovations. The actions carried out between 2016 and 2017 have saved nearly 15,000 tons per year. For the year 2018, the latest initiatives have improved our consumption by an additional 3,000 tons. Air France’s goal for 2019 is to achieve an additional annual reduction of 25,000 tons of fuel, reducing our CO2 emissions by 75,000 tons.
The lighter an aircraft is, the less fuel it consumes. All Air France-KLM departments are continuously working to reduce weight onboard. The onboard products are chosen and adjusted according to their cost, their resistance and their weight, in order to reduce fuel consumption. Some examples in 2018:
At Air France:
- Onboard materials: reduction of the impact of Air France Magazine, optimisation of meal trays and crockery, new trolleys. For example, Air France chose to replace the china dishware by lighter melamine dishware for business and La Première Class on longer flights (long and medium haul). By replacing 3 china items with melamine items, Air France saves 40 kg in each A380, while the visual aspect of the new dishware has remained the same.
- Drinking water carried on board: adaptation of daily prescriptions depending on the type of aircraft, the load factor and the duration of the flight. Twice a year, flights to new destinations are analyzed in order to optimize the quantity of water onboard. The need is calculated on the basis of an average hourly consumption per passenger. For example, it is the case for dishes, trolleys, etc.
Improvements in fuel efficiency are made through the optimization of routes and flight paths, the reduction of aircraft waiting times and optimized altitudes. These were the results in 2018:
- The opening of new spaces and the progressive passing through free routes enables us to optimize the fuel consumption even more. Air Traffic Control (ATC)’s impact on Air France Group’s fuel consumption has been estimated at 6%, or around 70,000 tons per year.
Optimizing flight operations
Pilots of the Group are trained to apply the most fuel-efficient procedures possible: flight plan precision, speed adjustments and optimized procedures, landing configurations, and, on the ground, taxiing with one engine. For example in 2018:
- Air France implemented actions to improve the forecast of reference flight times, taking into account the most favorable and most unfavorable conditions (mainly weather/wind and taxiing). These actions have improved the punctuality and reduced fuel consumption by limiting the need for acceleration.
- Air France deployed a new tool to support the flight planning for each flight, aiming at coordinating the measures to reduce fuel consumption, and optimizing fuel consumption and fuel use. During the flight, pilots use connected tools that allow them to optimize flight levels and routes, and to have up-to-date weather information.
Ground operations and optimization of aircraft performance
- Better use of ground-based engine replacement equipment for air-conditioning and aircraft power, and greater investment in environmentally friendly equipment.
- Innovations in all areas of maintenance to improve aircraft performance (engine wash, aircraft exterior wash, engine removal cycles ….)
SUSTAINABLE AVIATION FUEL
Sustainable aviation fuel constitutes one of the most promising approaches to reducing CO2 emissions in aviation. They are key to achieving Air France-KLM’s CO2 emission reduction targets, as well as those of the aviation industry as a whole. Unlike other forms of transportation, commercial aviation industry has no alternative to fossil fuels and, moreover, no ground-breaking technologies are envisaged for commercial aviation in the coming decades.
- Over 1,300 tons of sustainable bio-kerosene were used by KLM, together with its corporate bio-fuel partners
- Air France engaged in a Green Deal signed with the French government and 4 industrial partners in order to promote the emergence of sustainable aviation bio-fuel industries, in economically viable conditions that fully integrate circular economy principles.
European trading system
Since 2012, the Group has been subject to the application of the European Emission Trading Scheme for greenhouse gas emission quotas (EU-ETS).
The EU-ETS scope is limited to intra-European flights until the end of 2023. The EU-ETS should be considered a first step towards a global system whose main principles were approved by ICAO in October 2016, and specified in the SARP (Standard and Recommended Practices) rulebook accepted by the ICAO council in 2018.
In 2018, Air France, KLM, Transavia, HOP! and KLM Cityhopper purchased emission allowances equivalent to 3,081,906 tons of CO2. We estimate that out of this just 2,496,488 tons will contribute to actually reducing emissions beyond the ETS threshold. Of the remainder, 15% was used in additional bidding as part of the EU’s ETS system and 3% was allocated to a reserve.
If we take into account the economic measures above the ETS cap, in addition to the operational improvement measures of 13.5%, our total efficiency improved by 21.6% in 2018 (g.CO2/passenger/km) compared to 2011, surpassing our 20% target for 2020.
Seeing that not all emission allowances are used in a way to comply with the collective cap, the environmental integrity of EU ETS could be considered limited, as it does not lower our carbon footprint in the most cost-effective way.
CORSIA: Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation
CORSIA is a historic agreement that sets out a global system for capping net carbon emissions for the international aviation industry, making aviation the first economic sector to address climate change at a global level. This global market-based scheme aims to limit the CO2 emissions from international aviation by targeting carbon-neutral growth relative to the 2020 reference. Air France, KLM and other airline members of IATA continue to work on defining the implementation conditions of this agreement.
For the implementation of CORSIA, the calculation of the CO2 emission reference data began on January 1, 2019 (to determine the average of 2019 and 2020 emissions): all operators across all countries must henceforth declare the CO2 emissions from their international flights.
The first phase of CORSIA offsetting will start from 2021 to 2026, with seventy-six volunteering countries (representing 76% of international aviation activity), having already declared their intention to participate. The following phase, set up from 2027 to 2035, will be mandatory, and will concern virtually all countries (with the exception of few countries, unless they volunteer).
This new system aims to supplement the basket of mitigation measures already deployed by the industry to reduce the CO2 emissions from international aviation. This basket includes technical and operational improvements, together with progress made in producing and using sustainable alternative fuels for aviation.
The Group expects this system to ensure simplicity, environmental integrity and an acceptable cost-efficiency ratio, to establish fair competition between the airlines, and avoid having a patchwork of local or regional regulations. In this regard, the CORSIA provisions should be included in the EU-ETS regulation as of 2021 for the scope of international flights.
CO2 offsetting service for our customers
Air France and KLM also offer a CO2 offsetting service for their customers on a voluntary basis. We provide CO2 emission calculators on our websites that determine CO2 emissions of a passenger, based on the distance flown and the fuel-efficiency data of our aircraft. These calculators are directly linked to an evaluation system, enabling passengers to balance the carbon emissions associated with their travel, should they so wish.
Air France partners the GoodPlanet Foundation’s Solidarity Action Carbon Program for the financing of carbon offsetting projects aimed at promoting renewables to replace non-renewable energies in Peru, Bolivia and India, and at implementing waste recycling projects in Madagascar. In 2018, Air France launched a new partnership and the program Trip and Tree with the organization A Tree for You (see Biodiversity page).