Small decline in performance fails to loosen Emirates’ grip on industry leadership in fuel and CO2 efficiency
Thu 14 June 2012 – Despite a dip of one per cent in fuel efficiency by its passenger operations last year, Emirates says it is still 22.5 per cent lower than the industry average and better than its competitors. Compared to fuel consumption of 4.07 litres per 100 passenger-kilometres (L/100PK) in the period 2010/11, the second Environmental Report just published by the Emirates Group shows average fuel burn of 4.11 L/100PK for 2011/12. Emirates partly attributes this to the impact of deploying long and ultra-long range aircraft on short and medium range routes. Overall CO2 emissions from both passenger and freight transportation rose from 17.7 million tonnes in 2010/11 to just over 19.3 million tonnes last year. The 9.4 per cent increase is largely in line with an increase in kilometres flown. The Group has just signed a joint initiative with the Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence on ground-based projects that could generate emissions allowances under the Clean Development Mechanism.
Emirates says its 4.11 L/100PK compares with an IATA industry average of 5.3 L/100PK for 2011 and claims it is better than major competitors that post comparable statistics. For example, its report quotes fuel efficiency figures for Lufthansa Group of 4.20 L/100PK, United Continental 4.25, Finnair 4.62 and Cathay Pacific/Dragonair 4.75.
Measured in terms of CO2 efficiency, passenger operations slipped by 1%, from 100.57 gCO2 per passenger-kilometre in 2010/11 to 101.60 in 2011/12. This is compared to an IATA forecast global fleet average of 133.9 and, claims Emirates, better than British Airways (103.3), Lufthansa Group (105.8), United Continental (111.9) and Cathay Pacific/Dragonair (119.7).
Emirates SkyCargo’s CO2 efficiency improved slightly last year to 555 gCO2 per freight tonne-kilometre from 556 the previous year. This compares with 730 for the Lufthansa Group and 1,215 for British Airways.
“It’s a small improvement, but it demonstrates how our continual search for more efficiency pays off,” notes the report, which attributes the progress to the introduction of two more Boeing 777F freighters to the fleet, replacing 747-400 freight aircraft.
Combining passenger and freight operations, Emirates overall CO2 efficiency for 2011/12 was 0.770 kgCO2/TK, a decline from 0.749 in 2010/11. Again, Emirates says this is considerably better than the IATA global average of 0.94 and beats competitors such as Cathay Pacific/Dragonair (0.78), Singapore Airlines (0.84), Finnair (0.92), Qantas (0.99) and United Continental (1.06).
During the April 2011 to March 2012 period, Emirates added 20 new passenger aircraft, in addition to the two freighters, made up of 6 Airbus A380-800s and 14 B777-300ERs. Eleven new destinations were added, as were nearly 6,000 new staff, and the acquisition of Alpha Flight Group in the UK added to the performance of dnata, the ground services part of the group.
Emirates’ data and metrics have been verified according to PwC assurance procedures.
“As the Emirates Group grows across its various divisions, we fully recognise our environmental responsibility in the locations in which we operate and via the way we fly our aircraft,” commented Andrew Parker, Senior Vice-President, Public, Industry, International and Environmental Affairs. “This second Environment Report allows us to benchmark our performance against last year and with others in the industry, with the aim of maximising eco-efficiency to minimise our environmental footprint. We have identified some clear successes, but the report also serves to highlight where we can look to improve.”
The report also carries a number of case studies highlighting emissions reduction initiatives, including Emirates participation in the Indian Ocean INSPIRE efficient flight routings and operations programme. Three test flights resulted in combined fuel savings of nearly seven tonnes of fuel and 22 tonnes of CO2.
Other activities include a switch to lighter-weight Kevlar Cargo unit loading devices (containers), which have saved 14,475 tonnes of fuel and 45,595 tonnes of CO2, estimate Emirates. Increasing the frequency of engine washes by Emirates Engineering has saved an estimated 314 tonnes of fuel and 989 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
In an innovative move, Emirates replaced 115 tonnes of business and first class chinaware with lighter-weight china, and used a portion of the obsolete china to create an artificial bed to help in the restoration of the Gulf pearl oyster population off the coast of Dubai. The remaining 97 tonnes went to the Emirates Recycling crushing plant to use as construction aggregate.
Other initiatives include eliminating e-waste through recycling obsolete IT equipment, saving around 5,800 items of waste from landfills, recycling over 33 tonnes of used clothing and shoes donated by staff, and initiating a company-wide switch to recycled paper.
On the negative side, electricity consumption and waste generation per head of staff in Dubai rose, although water consumption and vehicle fuel consumption per head of staff decreased.
Around 95.1% of the Emirates Group’s CO2 emissions in 2011/12 were attributable to flight operations, a slight decrease from 96.2% the previous year. This was largely due to increased ground operations in Dubai, the contribution from Alpha Flight Group and the inclusion for the first time in the reporting from 12 outstations 26 Emirates airport lounges outside of Dubai and seven major buildings at Dubai International Airport.
In last year’s Environment Report, Emirates presented its own metrics for the impact of noise caused by aircraft taking off or landing, which it suggests should adopted as an industry standard. These ‘noise efficiency factors’ more accurately demonstrate the relative noise performance of modern wide-bodied aircraft, claims Emirates. Those aircraft with lower noise efficiency factors have less of an impact on surrounding communities, it says.
According to this year’s report, the Emirates Noise Efficiency Factor for Take-Off (NEF-T) for 2011/12 was 2.237 dBkm2/TK, a 12.7% increase over last year. The factor for landings (NEF-L) increased 10.7% to 0.633 dBkm2/TK. Interestingly, Emirates attributes a significant cause of the increase to the expanded noise impact area generated by the enlarged Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER fleet.
“Although these aircraft are considered to be ‘quieter’, their increased use on medium-range routes resulted in higher NEF-T and NEF-L values. The contribution from these aircraft affected the weighted-average noise efficiency factor for the entire Emirates fleet,” says the report.
Emirates reports that more than 24% of its passenger and cargo operations fly to and from the EU, and says it is fully complying with the provisions of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), although under protest. It currently estimates compliance costs will be “well over” €10 million in 2012 and “hundreds of millions” of euros over the first nine years to 2020. In last year’s report, Emirates said it expected 2012 costs to amount to €40 million and over half a billion over the period to 2020.
Emirates Group has just signed a collaboration framework agreement with the Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence (DCCE) under which DCCE will provide its carbon competencies. A number of projects are being explored, including energy-efficient lighting for the Emirates Group accommodation buildings, solar hot-water systems and waste-to-energy technologies.
The agreement is part of ongoing initiatives to build a green economy in the UAE, along with national environmental protection and emission reduction efforts. The initiatives will be structured to generate Certified Emission Reductions, carbon credits issued under the Clean Development Mechanism, which can be used for the benefit of the Emirates Group in a number of international schemes, including the EU ETS.
“The Emirates Group is committed to pursuing resource efficiencies in all its activities and this agreement will allow us to examine, in greater depth, potential Dubai-based emission reduction projects at our commercial and residential sites, across various facets of our operations,” commented Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline.