SAS Group sets 20 per cent emissions reduction target by 2020 compared with 2007
Thu 13 Mar 2008 - The SAS Group has launched a new environmental strategy that aims to cut overall CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020 compared to 2007, taking into account an anticipated passenger growth of 4% a year during this period. In line with IATA’s airline industry aims, the Group is taking steps to achieve zero emissions by 2050.
In the shorter term, SAS has come up with an “environmental action plan” that sets out a list of goals for the period up to 2011:
·To be seen as the most environment-conscious airline in Europe;
·To have certified environmental management systems in accordance with ISO 14001;
·To have the industry’s most efficient fuel savings programme;
·To be among the first airlines to blend in alternative fuel when it is approved and commercially available;
·To have a long-term plan for its aircraft fleet that leads to a significant reduction of GHG emissions; and
·To reach the target for SAS’s eco-efficiency index.
The plan contains measures aimed at customers and employees and at production and communication. It will adopt a ‘green’ vehicle policy throughout the Group and will set clear environmental standards for its purchasing process. It will also expect employees to become more knowledgeable about environmental and climate issues and will update its Environmental Education Programme.
According to its recently-published Sustainability Report, SAS admits to an environmental dilemma with its current fleet. It has a 44-strong MD-80 fleet with an average age of 18 years and 17 older Boeing 737s, all of which it would like to replace in the short term, as it would lead to a 10-15% reduction in fuel consumption. Mainly for financial reasons, it has decided to postpone a phase-out of these aircraft until a new generation of more fuel-efficient aircraft come about, which is unlikely to be earlier than 2015.
The Report also admits the Group’s passenger carbon offset scheme which it launched a year ago “has not been very successful”, which it says is possibly because there is not a simple way to pay via its website. It is planning to offer ‘contractual’ carbon offsets shortly to its major customers.
Meanwhile, SAS Group subsidiary Scandinavian Airlines Sweden is joining with LFV Group’s Air Navigation Services Division and Stockholm-Arlanda Airport in three initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions.
On April 10 they are introducing ECO descents, which are aimed at adapting the speed of aircraft in order to reduce environmental impact. The following month sees the introduction of STAR-CDA continuous descent approaches at Stockholm-Arlanda, which means more ‘green approaches’ can take place during off-peak traffic, saving about 160kg of fuel and 400kg of CO2 per landing. The partners expect 80% of all approaches to be ‘green’ by 2012 and queuing time at Stockholm-Arlanda to decrease 50% by 2010.
A system called Free Route Airspace Sweden is being introduced during the coming year that will enable aircraft flying over northern Sweden to freely choose their flight path. It is expected that eight out of ten overflights will use the system by 2012.
“Aviation safety is always our top priority. But in the future, environmental standards will be the strongest driving force for introducing new solutions. This is a far-reaching change compared to the past,” says Thomas Allard, Head of the Air Navigation Services Division.