ÜAbout new fuel-efficient airplanes and the hopes for alternative fuels Lufthansa -CEO Carsten Spohr has already raved a lot. After all, the group has set itself the goal of mathematically reducing its CO2- Halve emissions. His board colleague Christina Foerster specified the plans on Monday.
“If targets for reducing CO2-Emissions, it often has to do with the fact that companies use various compensation measures. But we are concerned with real reductions in the aviation sector," said Foerster. She is responsible for brand management and recently received a lot of mail from customers who were upset about delays and cancellations - and she is responsible for the sustainability strategy of the group.
Now she sets a new target. “In the past, aviation was often about the CO2-Emission per capita decreases. However, overall emissions have increased due to industry growth,” she explains. Lufthansa, too, had long highlighted falling per capita pollution from new planes that use less fuel, while pre-pandemic passenger numbers were rising.
A fifth less emissions within eight years
"We are now aiming for an absolute reduction of 18 percent by 2030," said Foerster, specifying the group plan. This means: Nothing changes in the 50 percent reduction target, but a part of it that is now quantified should not only be achieved through payments for compensation projects. Climate neutrality should be achieved by 2050.
The climate impact of flying has become a permanent issue in European aviation. Low-cost airline Easyjet has announced that it is a partner with Airbus in the development of a hydrogen passenger aircraft. But that is not likely to take off before the middle of the next decade. Foerster asserts that Lufthansa wants to make short-term progress. "That's why we are the first airline in Europe and the second in the world to be validated by the Science Based Target initiative."
On the way to the emission reduction targets, Lufthansa relies less on waiting for a new aircraft of the future and more on purchasing kerosene alternatives, in the sector Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) called. This includes the fuel that is already being used in small quantities and is made from used fats. Next up is the use of synthetic fuel made from CO2 and water is obtained.
Partnership brings security for oil companies
Lufthansa has concluded two partnerships with the suppliers OMV and Shell - for more than 2.4 million tons of SAF by 2030. This should also give the oil companies certainty that alternative fuels from new production plants will also be accepted. "In our partnerships with energy companies, we have not only agreed on SAF quantities, but also specified quotas in order to produce synthetically from renewable energy, CO2 and water-generated next-generation fuel,” says Foerster. And in flight operations it would be enough to send an Airbus A350 from Munich to New York 28,000 times. Since up to now a maximum of half of SAF can be added, even more aircraft are likely to get some of the new fuel into their tanks.
However, the path to lower-emission aviation also has hurdles - such as the use of a surface film that is modeled on shark skin. This allows air resistance and fuel consumption to be reduced by up to 3 percent, said Foerster. So far, Lufthansa has achieved one percent of a partially coated jet. The project is to be expanded. "The process is currently still in the approval process," she explains. According to reports, a separate approval is required for each aircraft type. This takes a while. After all, more passengers seem willing to voluntarily pay an additional contribution to offset the effects of climate change. Depending on the route, this is the case for 4 to 9 percent of bookings made directly with Lufthansa; not too long ago the rate was one percent.