Lufthansa Group records good progress in fuel efficiency performance towards 2020 environmental goal
Fri 31 Jul 2015 – Absolute carbon emissions from airlines within the Lufthansa Group rose by 0.7% to 27.8 million tonnes in 2014 as a result of increased operations but overall fuel efficiency in passenger transportation continued to improve, reaching a record 3.84 litres per 100 passenger kilometres (l/100 pkm). Specific fuel consumption has been steadily falling on an annual basis and the achievement in 2014 was a 1.6% improvement on the previous year, and therefore ahead of the industry-wide 1.5% short-term annual efficiency target. With jet fuel being its largest individual cost item, the Group last year set up a fuel efficiency unit as part of the new Operations Efficiency & Strategy department that aims to achieve even greater gains. With 272 aircraft expected to join the fleet over the next 10 years, the Group expects new models such as the Airbus A350-900 and Boeing 777-9X to bring specific fuel consumption down to the 3 litre mark.
The latest sustainability report from the Lufthansa Group – which also includes Swiss, Austrian Airlines and Germanwings – shows the wide variation in fuel efficiency between short-haul and long-haul operations. Specific fuel consumption performance across the Group’s passenger transportation on long-haul routes, which made up 59% of traffic in 2014, was 3.45 l/100 pkm compared to 3.99 on medium-haul routes (26%) and 6.32 on short-haul routes (15%). This enabled Swiss to have a better overall fuel efficiency performance (3.48 l/100 pkm) than Lufthansa (3.91 l/100 pkm) because of its lower number of short-haul routes. Austrian Airlines had the Group’s best performance of 2.92 l/100 pkm for its long-haul operations but its short-haul operations were less efficient than Lufthansa’s.
Specific fuel consumption from freight transportation has not quite matched the impressive gains made in the passenger sector, improving from 0.278 in 2013 to 0.276 litres per tonne kilometres in 2014, with CO2 emissions remaining the same for both years at 0.70kgs per tonne kilometre. However, Lufthansa Cargo achieved a 5.2% improvement in fuel efficiency in 2014 compared to 2013 with a fuel consumption of 0.183 litres per tonne kilometre. Five new fuel-efficient Boeing 777F freighters have joined the Lufthansa Cargo fleet.
The Group established a strategic environmental programme in 2008 with the target of achieving a 25% reduction in specific CO2 emissions of the passenger fleet by 2020 in comparison with 2006, and by 2014 had increased fuel efficiency by 12.3% since the base year. Coordinating company-wide climate and environmental goals, strategies and measures is the responsibility of the Environmental Issues department. In addition, all larger subsidiaries have environmental departments and commissioners or coordinators. Meetings take place twice a year at the Group’s Environmental Forum.
The Fuel Efficiency department ensures a continuous exchange of ideas between the Group’s airlines as well as with partners across the Star Alliance. Fuel experts meet every two months in the Fuel Efficiency Group to share knowledge and receive new information and updates on measures and goals. So far, more than 1,300 ideas and projects have been developed in areas such as flight operations, network planning, ground processes, aerodynamics, flight weight reduction and technical optimisation of performance. In 2014, the Group implemented 145 related projects, bringing the total number of projects in implementation to 266. Their progress is monitored by the ProFuel database.
Fuel efficiency measures are expected to contribute savings of €148 million ($161m) to the Group’s 2015 results, with Lufthansa itself contributing €93 million ($101m) to the effort.
“The worldwide need for mobility increases year after year – in 2014 alone, passenger numbers rose by 5.9%. Sustainability, climate protection and environmental responsibility are becoming ever more important because of this growth,” says Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr in the sustainability report. “As the world’s largest aviation group, we are an essential part of this development. With innovative products, we want to set new standards and to make our contribution towards an environmentally compatible type of air transport in the future.”