Lufthansa Group's 50 new replacement aircraft contribute to 2009 overall fall in specific fuel consumption
Mon 21 June 2010 – Specific fuel consumption across the Lufthansa Group declined last year to 4.30 litres of kerosene per 100 passenger kilometres compared to 4.34 in 2008. The Group has set a target to reduce the specific fuel consumption, and therefore CO2 emissions, by 25 percent by 2020 compared to the 2006 level of 4.38. This will be helped by the largest fleet modernization programme so far undertaken in which a total of 146 new aircraft list priced at more than 13 billion euros are due to go into operation over the next six years. A further contribution is expected from the use of blended synthetic fuels, based on biomass, making up 5 to 10 percent of total fuel usage by 2020. Details of the Group’s Strategic Environmental Program are contained its 2010 sustainability report, Balance, just published.
With the addition during the second half of 2009 of Austrian Airlines and bmi, the number of flights operated by the Lufthansa Group increased by 7.4% over those in 2008 and passengers by 8.3%. However, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions rose by just 0.1%, with CO2 emissions for 2009 totalling 24,194,229 tonnes.
The star performer in the Group was SWISS, which recorded a specific fuel consumption of 3.88 litres per 100 passenger kms, with newcomer bmi posting a comparable figure of 4.70, although this is largely explained by the predominantly short- and medium-haul flights operated by bmi compared to the mainly long-haul flights of SWISS.
The Group says it has been able to continuously decouple its “transport performance” from its environmental effects. From 1991 to 2008, transport performance increased by 257%, while kerosene consumption and CO2 emissions rose by 145%. In 2009, the growth rate of fuel consumption remained constant at 145% compared to 1991, while the growth rate of transport performance declined slightly to 252%, largely due to the general economic downturn and the consolidation of new subsidiary companies.
Lufthansa Group points to its ‘Fuel Efficiency Leadership’ initiative in helping to reduce fuel consumption, which includes measures such as reducing weight, improving load factors, flying at variable speeds and optimizing flight routings. As an example, Lufthansa Passenger Airlines – Lufthansa Passenger Airline, Lufthansa Italia and Lufthansa Regional (Lufthansa CityLine, Air Dolomiti, Eurowings, Contact Air and Augsburg Airways) – is currently pursuing 56 new measures such as exact calculation of the fastest flight routing, complete with precise fuel calculations and optimized fresh-water provisions, which is saving more than 8,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.
Lufthansa has set up the Aviation Biofuel project that aims to ensure an early influence on the availability of raw materials and on the production and logistics processes for alternative fuels in order to represent the long-term interests of air transport in the emerging markets for these fuels and to develop an optimum procurement strategy for Lufthansa.
In 2009, Lufthansa joined the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group and has applied for membership of the European Algae Biomass Association, although the airline accepts that no significant quantities of fuel can be expected from algae over the next 10 years.
The Group has set itself the goal of blending a 5-10% share of synthetic fuels produced from renewable raw materials with conventional kerosene by 2020. Key requirements, says the report, are that such fuels are not in competition with food production, they provide a proven advantage for the environment and they are available at an acceptable price.
Lufthansa revealed recently that it was planning a series of biofuel test flights over an extended period with the prospect of operating a scheduled test route within two years using biofuels to evaluate the requirements of the supply logistics required at both ends of the route.