© Air France
© Air France
Global greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 were around 60 billion tonnes of equivalent CO₂. To reach the international goal of carbon neutrality, these must be reduced to 10 billion tonnes by 2050.
Therefore, our climate strategy focuses on reducing our CO₂ emissions as rapidly as possible, primarily those generated by our operations.
The Air France Group is targeting a 30% reduction in emissions per passenger-kilometre in 2030 compared to 2019. For Air France, this corresponds to a 12% reduction in our total CO₂ emissions over this period, excluding offsets, based on our current traffic development assumptions.
This target has been approved by the independent global initiative Science Based Targets (SBTi) on the basis of a scientific approach and criteria, confirming its alignment with the Paris Agreement.
To achieve this, we are implementing three major priority actions – our fleet renewal, the progressive use of sustainable aviation fuel, and eco-piloting.
To deploy them more rapidly, we are working closely with all our ecosystem partners – aircraft manufacturers, equipment suppliers, airports, fuel suppliers, air traffic control authorities and public authorities.
Over the last 15 years, Air France has reduced its CO₂ emissions by 6%. However, CO₂ emissions from air transport have increased by 40%. This is due to strong traffic growth (+5% per year on average), which has more than offset the reduction in CO₂ emissions per passenger made possible by various technological advances (-1.5% per year). The question of traffic growth therefore has a more than legitimate place in the debate.
In the coming years, growth projections, particularly in Europe, are more limited (+1.4% according to Airlines 4 Europe in its Destination 2050 report). But air traffic could nevertheless continue to grow in certain regions (particularly in China, India, and Africa). Therefore, we are working for a global transition of the sector, so that this traffic evolution is compatible with the necessary reduction of the sector's emissions.
At the same time, our relationship to travel is changing and a more sustainable vision is emerging. A growing number of our are starting to show more restraint in their travel behaviour, and we aim to support this trend. This means choosing to travel less often and for longer periods or combining business and leisure travel.
On January 1st, 2022, a regulatory obligation to incorporate 1% sustainable aviation fuel on all flights departing from France came into force. This represents an additional cost of around €30 million for Air France given the current price of these fuels. This additional cost has been passed on to the customer in the form of a transparent contribution included in ticket prices, from 1 to 4 euros in the Economy cabin, and from 1.50 to 12 euros in the Business cabin, depending on the distance.
Our customers have the opportunity to voluntarily contribute to the purchase of additional sustainable aviation fuel on Air France website in order to help increase the use of these fuels. Each euro of voluntary contribution is fully invested in the purchase of these fuels. Since 2022, members of our Flying Blue frequent flyer program are also able to purchase these fuels with their Miles and earn additional XP, thus facilitating access to the different levels of the program.
Hydrogen-powered aircraft would offer great potential for reducing the climate impact of air travel, as combustion theoretically only emits water. This is a long-term project that Air France supports.
Its development will require overcoming major technological challenges, in particular related to the storage of liquid hydrogen (requiring four times the volume of kerosene) and the development of a complete logistics chain, and its commissioning date remains uncertain. Moreover, the first aircraft will be used over short distances, with a reduced number of passengers. Just like the electric aircraft and its limited commercial possibilities (transport of a few dozen people maximum), this will not address in the short term the main source of our emissions: long-distance flights. However, we remain very open and follow with interest these technological breakthroughs and the opportunities they offer, while focusing on deploying as a priority the solutions that are immediately available to reduce our emissions as quickly as possible.
The aircraft we own are recycled and recovered, thanks in particular to AFI KLM E&M Teardown Management, a subsidiary dedicated to managing aircraft dismantling. Recoverable parts are checked, rectified and reused (in our fleet, our customers' fleets or in our stocks). We rely on a network of service providers to carry out these operations, in particular the company TARMAC Aerosave, a subsidiary of Airbus, Safran and Suez. Tarmac was created just over 10 years ago and was the first company in the industry to emphasize environmental responsibility, ensuring the reprocessing of all pollutants and maximizing the recycling rate (92% of an aircraft's weight).