Airberlin counts the carbon calories in slimming exercise to reduce the weight of onboard items
Fri 1 Nov 2013 – The lower the weight of an aircraft, the less fuel it uses and therefore lower carbon emissions – but how much weight carried on board an aircraft can realistically be saved? Airberlin has just completed an exercise to remove, weigh and record all the objects not permanently attached to one of its Airbus A330 aircraft. The objective of its ‘Papa Charlie Clear Out’ mission was to identify those items that were not absolutely essential to flying the airplane in order to optimise fuel and carbon efficiency. It was found that there were actually few non-essential items but in many cases there were lighter-weight alternatives. Another positive outcome from the detailed analysis carried out on the aircraft’s non-fixed furnishings was the identification of several follow-on projects, which the airline will now pursue as part of its efficiency drive.
The project was carried out at the airberlin technik hangar in Düsseldorf by 38 staff members from six different departments who removed all the items that were not actually attached to the widebody aircraft, which were then weighed and recorded. Afterwards, a team of airberlin experts assessed whether each item could be potentially replaced by a less heavy alternative, a typical example being not to carry a hard copy of the aircraft manual as it will become available in a digital format.
In total, around 630kgs worth of non-permanently attached items were taken off the aircraft. Of these, 335kgs were put back on board and it was found possible to remove 17kgs altogether from the aircraft. For 116kgs worth of items, a lighter-weight alternative was sought and further tests are being carried out on the remaining items weighing 162kgs in total.
“This project has demonstrated that airberlin is already well positioned in terms of eco-efficient flying since only a few items were found that were non-essential,” said Christian Bodemann, airberlin’s Head of Cabin Maintenance and the project manager of Clear Out. “Nonetheless, the expense has paid dividends and reduced annual CO2 emissions per aircraft on long-haul routes by about eight tonnes, which is equivalent to 2.5 tonnes of fuel.”
In 2012, airberlin, Germany’s second-largest airline, claimed a European industry record in achieving an average fuel consumption of 3.4 litres per 100 passenger kilometres flown. Through fuel saving measures it implemented last year, the airline says it has managed to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 100,000 tonnes.
Last month, airberlin received Air Transport World’s Silver Eco-Airline of the Year award in recognition of its commitment to eco-efficiency.