Lufthansa’s fuel and emissions rose by 10.1 per cent in 2010 but specific fuel consumption falls to record low
Lufthansa's new lightweight cabin service trolley
Tue 24 May 2011 – According to its latest annual sustainability report ‘Balance 2011’, Lufthansa Group’s specific fuel consumption fell to an historic low of 4.2 litres per 100 passenger-kilometres last year. The 2.4 per cent decrease on 2009 is similarly matched by a reduction in CO2 emissions, which fell to 10.58 kilos per 100 pax-km. Lufthansa CEO and Chairman Christoph Franz said the decline was due to a continuous and significant investment in modern, efficient aircraft. The report reveals that in their first year of operation, Lufthansa’s new Airbus A380 aircraft achieved a specific fuel consumption of 3.4 litres per 100 pax-km and was “fulfilling all expectations”. The overall rise in the group’s fuel usage and CO2 emissions of 10.1 per cent is explained by increased traffic levels and the full incorporation of Austrian Airlines and bmi into the figures. In a new fuel and emissions saving measure, Lufthansa is to add 30,000 new lightweight service trolleys over the next three years.
The overall 4.20 litres per 100 pax-km in 2010 compares with 4.30 in 2009 for the Lufthansa Group as a whole. Lufthansa Passenger Airlines’ specific fuel consumption for 2010 was 4.25, a 3.0% drop on the previous year, compared to 3.73 for SWISS (-3.9% on 2009) and 4.21 for Austrian Airlines (+1.5%). The mainly short and medium haul bmi, on the other hand, had a fuel consumption of 5.09 litres per 100 pax-km in 2010, a surprising 8.4% increase on 2009.
Lufthansa says that over the past 20 years, it has managed to decouple increases in passenger transport from environmental effects “in a lasting manner”. While transport performance has increased by 302% since 1991, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions rose “only” by 170%. Across the group, total CO2 emissions for 2010 increased to 26,646,655 tonnes, with passenger operations accounting for 19,806,828 tonnes and cargo responsible for 6,839,827 tonnes, respectively a 9.8% and 11.0% increase.
In 2001, Lufthansa’s specific CO2 emissions were recorded at 11.73 kilos per 100 pax-km and after small increases in the middle of the decade, have gradually declined year-on-year since 2005.
Following a company-wide initiative in early 2010, Lufthansa has adopted a fuel-saving plan involving the development of a system of indicators, or ratios. The goal is to be able to analyse the efficiency of implemented conservation activities in a more detailed way and uncover further savings potential. More than 20 indicators related to fuel consumption have been identified, covering areas such as flight operations, weight or technical aspects.
This summer, for example, the airline will begin replacing its previous trolley equipment with the new Quantum Light Weight Trolley, which will be one-third lighter than its predecessor and is expected to save about 9,000 tonnes of kerosene and 28,350 tonnes of CO2 annually after the full roll-out. The trolley was developed by LSG Sky Chefs and manufactured by Norduyn, a Montreal-based specialist in lightweight materials. It is made entirely out of lightweight composites and Lufthansa claims it is the only aircraft cabin service trolley of its kind.
Having successfully completed the in-flight test phase, the trolleys will be introduced gradually until mid-2014 on all Lufthansa’s long-haul intercontinental flights.
The sustainability report devotes a chapter to Lufthansa’s biofuel activities and describes progress of its burnFAIR project in which Lufthansa will be the first airline worldwide to test biofuels in normal flight operations, once they have been approved by fuels standards body ASTM International. This will involve an Airbus A321 flying regularly – up to eight times a day – over a period of six months using fuel that contains a 50% share of biosynthetic kerosene in one engine.
The main goal of the long-term test, says the airline, is to gain experience and generate measurement data over a longer period of time in cooperation with its partner on the project, the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Another positive side effect, it adds, is the potential saving of 1,500 tonnes of CO2.
The report reveals that Lufthansa will use about 800 tonnes of biofuel produced by Finnish mineral oil company Neste Oil and sourced from licensed suppliers, which are required to prove the sustainability of their processes and raw materials. The raw materials for the biosynthetic kerosene include rapeseed oil, animal fats, jatropha and, controversially, palm oil.
Lufthansa says jatropha would be the best option. “But there’s not enough of it at the moment,” says Joachim Buse, Vice President Aviation Biofuel. “For this reason, we will very likely not be able to buy the quantity of jatropha oil needed for the 1,400 test flights. We will compensate for the discrepancy with certifiably sustainable palm oil in order to carry out these flights in the first place. This is a temporary solution that we consider acceptable, given the excellent potential.”
The sustainability report also notes that the preparations for participating in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme are already far advanced at Lufthansa, “despite difficult general conditions, highly complex issues and numerous unanswered questions.”
It adds: “For example, a unified EU standard is missing, which increases the bureaucratic efforts for all parties concerned. According to current information, 16 companies within the Lufthansa Group alone will participate in emissions trading, having to report to seven national authorities using different formats and applying different requirements.”
Presenting the report, Lufthansa‘s Christoph Franz, said: “Sustainability is an issue that sets Lufthansa apart from its competitors and is without a doubt an important – if not the key – differentiating factor. We offer sustainable mobility, and our achievements to date prove this. Despite all the negative impacts, we achieved ecological, economic and social improvements in 2010.”