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Aviation Sustainability and the Environment, CAPA 17-Sep-2020

Analysis

Etihad Airways completes testing on ecoDemonstrator programme with Boeing

Etihad Airways partners with Lumitics to analyse food wastage in economy class

airBaltic CEO: Sustainability will be a key driver in the next 20 to 30 years

oneworld member airlines commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2050

San Francisco International Airport deploys first all electric zero emission buses

This CAPA report features a summary of recent aviation sustainability and environment news, selected from the 300+ news alerts published daily by CAPA. For more information, please contact us.

Etihad Airways completes testing on ecoDemonstrator programme with Boeing

Etihad Airways announced (14-Sep-2020) the completion of testing with Boeing for its 787-10 on the ecoDemonstrator programme for 2020.

Etihad Aviation Group COO Mohammad Al Bulooki stated: "Together with Boeing and the national airline's sustainable aviation fuel partners World Energy and EPIC, Etihad used 50,000 gallons of a 50/50 blend of sustainable aviation fuel on the final flight of our ecoDemonstrator 787-10 flight tests".

The ecoDemonstrator trans continental test flight from Seattle to South Carolina utilised the maximum sustainable fuel blend permitted for commercial aviation, and also demonstrated a new way for pilots, air traffic controllers and airline operation centres to communicate simultaneously and optimise routing. [more - original PR]

Original report: BoeingEtihad Airways and World Energy lift sustainable aviation fuel to the next level on ecoDemonstrator programme

Boeing [NYSE:BA] and Etihad Airways concluded testing on the aerospace company’s 2020 ecoDemonstrator programme last week with a cross-country flight using a 50/50 blend of sustainable and traditional jet fuel.

Flying from Seattle to Boeing’s manufacturing site in South Carolina, Etihad’s newest 787-10 Dreamliner used the maximum sustainable fuel blend permitted for commercial aviation. The transcontinental flight also demonstrated a new way for pilots, air traffic controllers and airline operations centers to communicate simultaneously and optimize routing.

Mohammad Al Bulooki, Etihad Aviation Group Chief Operating Officer, said: “Together with Boeing and the national airline’s sustainable aviation fuel partners World Energy and EPICEtihad used 50,000 gallons of a 50/50 blend of sustainable aviation fuel on the final flight of our ecoDemonstrator 787-10 flight tests. This is a monumental step forward for the sector to prove the viability of producing a 50/50 blend of sustainable aviation fuel [SAF] at a high volume, an important moment for the industry.”

Al Bulooki added: “This is a prime example of industry collaboration towards sustainable aviation and innovation. Etihad’s collaboration with Boeing in the ecoDemonstrator programme has been a unique opportunity to lead the aviation industry’s drive for a sustainable future.”

Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator programme takes promising technologies out of the lab and tests them in the air to accelerate innovation. This year’s program evaluated four projects to reduce emissions and noise and enhance the safety and health of passengers and crew. All of the 787-10 test flights used a blend of traditional jet fuel and sustainable fuel produced from inedible agricultural wastes to minimize emissions, with the final flight operating at the maximum 50/50 commercial blend.

“Sustainable aviation fuels are proven and work in airplanes flying today and those that will fly tomorrow, but there’s a very limited supply,” said Sheila Remes, vice president of strategy at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “World Energy is making commercial-scale volumes of sustainable fuel at competitive prices, leveraging government low-carbon incentives to accelerate production and use in an industry that relies on liquid fuels.”

The fuel from World Energy and supplied to Boeing by EPIC Fuels has been certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials to reduce carbon emissions by more than 75% over the fuel’s life cycle.

“We congratulate Boeing and Etihad for their industry leadership in helping push the technical and sustainability boundaries of SAF,” said Bryan Sherbacow, chief commercial officer at World Energy. “This 50/50 blend demonstrates the maximum achievable greenhouse gas reduction commercially available today for aviation fuel.”

The partnership between Boeing and Etihad Airways represents a longstanding collaboration to make flying more sustainable. The two companies were among the founding partners that created the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium in 2010. Based at Khalifa University near Abu Dhabi, the pilot project for a unique desert ecosystem produces sustainable fuel from plants that grow in the desert, irrigated by coastal seawater. Etihad used the initial batch of fuel from the pilot project in January 2019 on a passenger flight from Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam.

In January 2020, Etihad took delivery of its signature green 787-10 using a fuel mix comprising 30% SAF produced by World Energy.

Boeing has been a leader in industry efforts to develop sustainable aviation fuel since before the first test flight on a commercial airliner in 2008. Along with others in the industry, the company worked to gain certification of sustainable fuel for commercial use in 2011 and collaborates around the world to create regional production roadmaps.

For more than a decade, World Energy and EPIC Fuels have produced and supplied SAF to Boeing for flight testing. Boeing offers airlines the option of using sustainable fuel for their airplane delivery flights. The first of these occurred in 2012 with an Etihad 777-300ER delivery flight from Everett, Washington, to Abu Dhabi.

Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading provider of commercial airplanes, defense, space and security systems, and global services. As a top U.S. exporter, the company supports commercial and government customers in more than 150 countries. Boeing employs more than 160,000 people worldwide and leverages the talents of a global supplier base. Building on a legacy of aerospace leadership, Boeing continues to lead in technology and innovation, deliver for its customers and invest in its people and future growth.

Etihad Airways partners with Lumitics to analyse food wastage in economy class

Etihad Airways announced (13-Sep-2020) a partnership with Lumitics to trial the usage of computer vision and machine learning to reduce food wastage. Lumitics and Etihad will track unconsumed economy class meals and will use analysis of the results to reduce food waste, improve meal planning and reduce operating costs.

 Etihad Aviation Group COO Mohammad Al Bulooki stated: "Etihad Airways started the pilot with Lumitics earlier this year before global flying was impacted by COVID-19, and as the airline scales up the flight operations again, it is exciting to restart the project and continue the work that had begun". [more - original PR]

Original report: Etihad Airways teams up with Lumitics to reduce inflight food wastage

 Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has partnered with Singapore food technology startup Lumitics to trial the use of computer vision and machine learning in order to reduce food wastage on Etihad flights.

The partnership will see Etihad and Lumitics track unconsumed Economy class meals from Etihad’s flights, with the collated data used to highlight food consumption and wastage patterns across the network. Analysis of the results will help to reduce food waste, improve meal planning and reduce operating costs.

Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Etihad Airways started the pilot with Lumitics earlier this year before global flying was impacted by COVID-19, and as the airline scales up the flight operations again, it is exciting to restart the project and continue the work that had begun. Etihad remains committed to driving innovation and sustainability through all aspects of the airline’s operations, and we believe that this project will have the potential to support the drive to reduce food wastage and, at the same time, improve guest experience by enabling Etihad to plan inflight catering in a more relevant, effective and efficient way.”

Lumitics’s product Insight Lite will track unconsumed meals from a plane when it touches down at an airport. Using AI and image recognition, Insight Lite is able to differentiate and identify the types and quantity of unconsumed meals based on the design of the meal foils, without requiring manual intervention.

Lumitics Co-founder and Chief Executive Rayner Loi said; “Tackling food waste is one of the largest cost saving opportunities for any business producing and serving food. Not only does it make business sense, it is also good for the environment. We are excited to be working with Etihad Airways to help achieve its goals in reducing food waste.”

Etihad Airways is a signatory to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and has committed to the UAE Food Waste Pledge led by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. The pilot scheme with Lumitics is one of many sustainability focused initiatives undertaken by the airline, following the launch of its Etihad Greenliner programme, which is designed to help improve operating efficiency and sustainable practice through engagement with expert partners.

airBaltic CEO: Sustainability will be a key driver in the next 20 to 30 years

airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss stated (10-Sep-2020) sustainability will be a key driver in the next 20 to 30 years.

Mr Gauss said the carrier is preparing its first sustainability report, as a long term commitment to sustainability.

He noted while work on sustainability was disrupted by the COVID-19 crisis, with the focus shifting towards survival, unemployment and crisis measures, sustainability continues to be very important and will be even more important once the crisis is overcome.

The carrier is focusing on a single aircraft type, which will result in 22% fuel savings and a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions. Mr Gauss added: "The future winners will be those who are already working on sustainability". [more - original PR]

Original report: airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss: We think greener, we fly greener

airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss: We think greener, we fly greener

Riga. During the 2020 Riga Aviation Forum scientific conference, which took place on September 9 and was devoted to sustainability, I had the opportunity to address this important topic which is a crucial part of our business. 

The aviation industry has been working hard towards more sustainable operations and with common efforts has demonstrated great results. We in aviation industry were even better than others in reducing our impact, we were faster in developing modern technologies and other advancements. Currently, though, Covid-19 crisis has disrupted and affected all of us and now we are talking about surviving, mass unemployment and other crisis measures. Is there reason to believe that sustainability is no longer important? No, in fact it is very important now and will be even more important once we overcome the crisis.

Sustainability is integral part of our daily life and future, and it is not only about clean air. At airBaltic, we are focusing on environmental, economic and social sustainability. We are currently preparing our first sustainability report, which is our long-term commitment to sustainability.

According to IATA research, impact of Latvian aviation industry on Latvian GDP reaches 3%. There is an impact on the economy, when the airline providing sustainable connectivity, is not doing that anymore. It is therefore our aim to maintain and improve the connectivity of the Baltics long-term.

It is also important to mention that airBaltic used to operate five different aircraft types. Now we are focusing on only one aircraft type, Airbus A220-300, and this aircraft is the greenest and most environmentally friendly aircraft in the world in its category. It saves 22% fuel and reduces CO2 emissions by 20%.

In addition, last year we joined other airlines to sign the IATA gender diversity pledge. We committed to have a 25% female participation across all levels in our airline. Already today 50% of our managers are female, and 40% of top management members are female. The industry wants to achieve these milestones only in 2025.

The sustainability as an issue will become even stronger. It will drive all of us for the next 20-30 years, because that is the key that helps to make our planet a better place. Airlines will have to focus on sustainability, when they are coming back from the crisis. The future winners will be those who are already working on sustainability. We want to take airBaltic and what we do as an example of what we do in the world. We think greener, we fly greener.

oneworld member airlines commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2050

oneworld announced (11-Sep-2020) its 13 member airlines have committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, becoming the first global airline alliance to collaborate towards a carbon neutrality target.

The carriers will develop individual approaches through initiatives such as efficiency measures, investments in sustainable aviation fuels and more fuel efficient aircraft, reduction of waste and single use plastics and carbon offsets.

The airlines plan to achieve the target within the existing environmental framework previously agreed to by governments, including through ICAO.

oneworld Chairman and Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce stated: “The commitment of oneworld member airlines to reach net zero emissions by 2050 underlines the importance that we as an alliance have placed on becoming a more sustainable industry. Despite the challenges we are all facing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we have not lost sight of the responsibility we have to reduce emissions in the long term and today’s announcement reflects the strength of that commitment". [more - original PR]

Original report: oneworld member airlines commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2050

oneworld® member airlines have committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, becoming the first global airline alliance to unite behind a common target to achieve carbon neutrality.

The alliance’s 13 member airlines plan to achieve this target within the existing environmental framework previously agreed to by governments, including through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

The airlines will develop their individual approaches to reach the target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, through various initiatives such as efficiency measures, investments in sustainable aviation fuels and more fuel-efficient aircraft, reduction of waste and single-use plastics, and carbon offsets among other measures.

Several oneworld member airlines are already actively prioritising a range of environmental sustainability initiatives. IAG (the parent of member carriers British Airways and Iberia) was the first airline group worldwide to commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Japan Airlines and Qantas have also targeted net zero carbon emissions by 2050, while Finnair aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.

Several other initiatives, including the use of more sustainable materials, investing in more fuel-efficient aircraft and the development of sustainable aviation fuels are already in progress at many member airlines. British Airways, for example, is part of an initiative to turn household and commercial waste into renewable jet fuel. American Airlines has undertaken an extensive fleet replacement initiative that has welcomed more than 500 new, more fuel-efficient aircraft into its fleet in place of less-efficient planes, and it has also begun adopting sustainable aviation fuel.

The net zero carbon emissions target announced today is among several environment and sustainability initiatives that oneworld member airlines are collaborating on, through a working group co-led by IAG Group Head of Sustainability Jonathon Counsell and QantasExecutive Manager Sustainability and Future Planet David Young.

oneworld Chairman and Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: “The commitment of oneworld member airlines to reach net zero emissions by 2050 underlines the importance that we as an alliance have placed on becoming a more sustainable industry. Despite the challenges we are all facing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we have not lost sight of the responsibility we have to reduce emissions in the long term and today’s announcement reflects the strength of that commitment.”

IAG Chief Executive Luis Gallego said: “We strongly support and congratulate oneworld for its commitment to net zero emissions by 2050. Despite the current crisis, it’s absolutely critical that the industry plays its full part in addressing climate change. We were the first airline group worldwide to commit to achieving net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 and we’ll continue to lead the industry's efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.”

American Airlines Chairman and CEO Doug Parker said: “We’re proud to join with our oneworld partners to commit to a more sustainable future for our industry. Each step we take to reduce our impact on the environment — from improving efficiency to adopting low-carbon fuels ―  contributes to our vision of taking care of customers and team members for generations to come. The American Airlines team is ready and willing to do what it takes to reach this ambitious and important goal.”

Finnair CEO Topi Manner said: “Finnair is happy to be part of this important initiative that shows the way for the industry. In addition to determined actions that reduce global emissions today, we must also seek future solutions to solve the climate challenge of our industry and to maintain the positive impacts aviation has for the society – an example of this is Finnair participating in research in zero emission synthetic fuels.”

Japan Airlines President Yuji Akasaka said: “Japan Airlines fully recognises that the airline industry will play a vital role in promoting a sustainable future and proudly supports the alliance in achieving net zero carbon emissions by the year 2050. In recent years, the JAL Group has invested in the development of sustainable aviation fuel to help contribute in building a firm supply chain for the airline industry.”

Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) Group Chief Executive Officer and Malaysia Airlines Berhad Chief Executive Officer Captain Izham Ismail said: “Congratulations to the oneworld Alliance, Malaysia Airlines is proud to be in support of this amazing initiative together with our fellow member airlines towards driving the long-term sustainability of the aviation industry. We seek to play a greater part in building a legacy for future generations and are enhancing our own airline’s contribution to global sustainability efforts.”

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Officer H.E. Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “It gives me great pride for Qatar Airways to stand alongside our oneworld Alliance partners in leading global efforts to tackle climate change. Reducing emissions is modern aviation’s greatest challenge, and the alliance’s commitment to 'net zero' during this uncertain time demonstrates the importance we all place on this duty.”

oneworld CEO Rob Gurney said: “Alongside our member airlines, we are proud to be the first alliance to commit to net zero emissions by 2050 and play a role in making the industry more sustainable. We want to thank our member carriers for their support and recognise IAGand Qantas for the leadership they have shown as we committed together to this goal.”

San Francisco International Airport deploys first all electric zero emission buses

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) announced (02-Sep-2020) the deployment of six 40 foot all electric zero emission buses and related electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Use of battery electric buses will cut operating costs and reduce carbon emissions, supporting SFO's strategic plan goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2021. [more - original PR]

Original report:

SFO Deploys Its First All-Electric Zero-Emission Buses

The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) today announced the deployment of six 40-foot all-electric zero-emission buses and related electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Use of battery-electric buses will cut operating costs and reduce carbon emissions, supporting SFO’s Strategic Plan Goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2021.

“The addition of these all-electric buses to our fleet moves us closer toward a more sustainable world-class airport and helps us reach our aggressive zero-emissions goals,” said Airport Director Ivar C. Satero. “Deploying these all-electric buses can help us significantly reduce costs and emissions, while simultaneously improving the passenger experience. My thanks go out to the entire team who made this milestone possible.”

In FY 2019, SFO achieved a 41% reduction in GHG emissions from its 1990 baseline, and is developing and implementing plans to achieve up to a 95% reduction. SFO is also one of just a few airports in North America to achieve Level 3 “Optimization” through the Airport Carbon Accreditation program by the Airports Council International (ACI), the foremost advocate for airport operators worldwide.

SFO’s 5-Year Strategic Plan (2017-2021) sets a goal of carbon neutrality across airport-controlled operations by 2021. Additionally, SFO works with airline and business partners to drive emission reductions across all activities within the SFO campus. Reduction strategies have included:

  • Installation of air conditioning and electrical power to all parked aircraft, resulting in a reduction of 18,300 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and saving 1,866,000 gallons of jet fuel; and 
  • Construction of the AirTrain, an electric-powered greenhouse gas emissions-free light rail system which eliminated over 600 daily bus trips to shuttle passengers between terminals and the Rental Car Center; and 
  • Creation of a Clean Vehicle Policy to promote the adoption and deployment of low emission vehicles, by both Airport departments and ground transportation providers; and 
  • Programs to encourage Airport employees to take public transit to and from work; and 
  • Convening a Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Working Group composed of airlines, fuel providers, government agencies, researchers, and NGOs to drive use of SAF at SFO. 

SFO currently provides buses to shuttle passengers between the terminals and long-term parking garages and other Airport locations. The SFO fleet currently has renewable compressed natural gas (CNG) and diesel-fueled buses, and the six new Proterra Catalyst E2 battery-electric buses will replace the remaining diesel buses in the fleet to run all regular daily routes. Designed and built by Burlingame-based transit manufacturer Proterra, the 40-foot zero-emission buses have 27 seats with luggage racks to comfortably accommodate passengers with their luggage. Since all-electric buses have no combustion engine, passengers will experience a quieter, smoother ride.

In addition to passenger benefits, the all-electric buses significantly reduce operating costs with its batteries equipped to last the entire daily route on a single charge and require no liquid fuel. The Proterra Catalyst E2 buses can be fully charged in under 4.5 hours for an operating range of up to 231 miles. Lower fuel prices and reduced vehicle maintenance costs will result in an estimated savings for SFO of about $4.5 million during the 12-year lifespan of these six new Proterra buses.

The new all-electric buses replace six renewable diesel buses in the regular operating fleet and will result in the elimination of more than 23.7 million pounds of greenhouse gas tailpipe emissions over the lifetime of these vehicles. SFO expects to purchase additional all-electric buses to replace existing CNG buses for a greener modern fleet.

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