Lufthansa Group airlines rack up double-digit increase in carbon emissions in 2010 despite efficiency improvement
Fri 18 Mar 2011 – According to its annual report just published, Lufthansa Group saw its carbon emissions increase by 10.1 per cent to 26.6 million tonnes in 2010, the benchmark year for airlines entering the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. However, transport performance increased by 15.6 per cent over the previous year, so fuel efficiency improvements were gained as a result of the Group’s continued fleet modernisation programme. Fuel consumption across the operating fleet declined from 4.30 litres per 100 passenger-kms (pkm) in 2009 to 4.20 in 2010. Direct CO2 emissions declined from 108.4 grams per pkm to 105.8. The Group’s target is to cut CO2 emissions per pkm by 25 per cent by 2020 in comparison with 2006 (110.5 g/pkm).
Airlines in the Lufthansa Group include Lufthansa Passenger Airlines, Lufthansa Cargo, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Germanwings and British Midland (bmi). The report notes that rising fuel costs will be “aggravated” by the inclusion of air traffic into the EU ETS from 2012. “The adverse effects this will have are mitigated by a fuel-efficient fleet,” it says.
Despite a five-fold increase in operating profits, fuel costs rose by 1.5 billion euros (to 5.2 billion euros) in 2010 compared to 2009 as a result of price increases and are expected to rise by a further 31 per cent in 2011.
The report states that environmental protection has been assigned a high priority in the company’s goals. “As one of the decision-making criteria, environmentally compatible conduct is to be more deeply integrated in everyday decision-making process than it is at present,” it promises.
A comprehensive database of all operating processes and activities affecting the environment across the Lufthansa Group has been set up, covering energy and kerosene consumption, emissions, noise, refuse, water and waste water. Performance indicators will allow for the implementation in the medium term of a certifiable environmental management system in all the Group’s major companies.
The report details three research projects that Lufthansa is currently involved with, including the sustainable biofuel BurnFAIR project. When certification of bio-SPK fuels has been passed for use in commercial operations, Lufthansa will be running daily flights for six months between Hamburg and Frankfurt using a 50/50 blend in one engine of an Airbus A321. The main aim of the project is to investigate the effects of biofuels on an engine’s servicing and life cycle in the course of a long term experiment. The project will cost the airline around €4.1 million ($5.8m).
Another is the CARIBIC EU research project that is investigating the complex chemical and physical processes that take place in the atmosphere, involving a laboratory on board a wide-bodied Airbus. Last spring, the equipment was used to measure ash concentrations in European airspace as a result of the Icelandic volcano.
A further area of research is covering noise protection. Lufthansa is investing in active noise-protection measures by updating the entire Boeing 737 fleet stationed in Frankfurt by the end of 2011 and making technical adjustments to the engines on the older 737-300s and -500s. The adjustments will reduce noise emissions on take-off and landing by up to 2.4 decibels.