Acceleration of fuel efficiency programme helps Qantas make up ground on environmental target
Thu 24 Sep 2015 – The fuel efficiency of the Qantas Group – which includes low-fares carrier Jetstar – has improved 5% overall since 2009, which is below the Group’s own target of an average 1.5% improvement per year. However, says the airline in its latest Annual Review, progress in better performance is expected with continued fleet renewal and ongoing fuel burn reduction initiatives. As part of the Qantas Transformation programme, the airline has accelerated an existing fuel efficiency and optimisation programme that helped reduce total carbon emissions by 2.1% during the Group’s 2014/15 financial year. The average age of the fleet has been reduced from 7.9 years in 2012/13 to a current 7.7 years, and from 2017 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners will start to replace older 747s on international routes. Qantas believes that over the longer term, biofuels present the biggest opportunity to achieve major reductions in carbon emissions.
Qantas Group aviation fuel consumption in the last financial year was 4.63 billion litres, a 102,297 litre reduction from the previous year, despite a 0.4% increase in capacity (Available Seat Kilometres) and a 2.6% increase in demand (Revenue Passenger Kilometres). Carbon emissions reached 11.86 million tonnes, a 259,241 tonne reduction from 2013/14, with 98,350 tonnes of carbon saved through Group fuel efficiency initiatives.
Qantas and Jetstar were among the first airlines to introduce a voluntary carbon offsetting programme in 2009 and, in contrast to the experience of most airlines with similar schemes, has experienced a good take-up. Around 7% of customers are choosing to offset their emissions through the Fly Carbon Neutral programme, claims the Group. Qantas reports that as a result it made a contribution of A$1.2 million ($840,000) last year towards the purchase of verified carbon offsets. Projects supported include the North Kimberley fire abatement project in Western Australia, which generates Kyoto Australia Carbon Credit Units, and the April Salumei virgin native rainforest conservation project in Papua New Guinea.
Australia’s leading sustainable tourism operators are supported by allowing airline customers to use Qantas Points to book holidays with them.
On the ground, Qantas says it is on track to meet and exceed electricity, water and waste-to-landfill 2020 reduction targets for its facilities. In 2014/15, a start was made nationally to replace fluorescent tube lighting with energy efficient LED lights in airports, hangars, ramp areas, warehouses and flight simulators. This is expected to reduce annual energy consumption by more than 13 million kilowatt hours and save over A$2 million ($1.4m) per year on energy costs.
On World Environment Day in June, an improved onboard recycling programme was launched on Qantas domestic services so that all recyclable waste on Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 aircraft is now separated and recycled. This is due to be followed by other new waste and recycling initiatives over the 2015/16 period.
“Our latest Review highlights our new approach to sustainability and combines our financial, environmental, social and governance performance into a single and streamlined report, bringing to the forefront our willingness to identify opportunities and mitigate risks to ensure our business has a strong, sustainable future,” commented Alan Milne, Head of Group Fuel and Environment.