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Aviation Sustainability and the Environment, CAPA 21-Feb-2020

Headlines

IATA: Industry has 'tough' target to halve emissions, support needed from governments on SAF

Cargolux Airlines International signs pledge to cease single use plastics

airBaltic meal preorders up 49.5%, carrier continues work on sustainability of onboard service

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport begins fuelling shuttle bus fleet with renewable natural gas

Raleigh-Durham International Airport plans to double fleet of electric 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

IATA: Industry has 'tough' target to halve emissions, support needed from governments on SAF

IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac stated (20-Feb-2020) the aviation industry's target to reduce net emissions to half of 2005 levels, irrespective of growth, is a "very tough" goal and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) "is the biggest hope but we cannot do it alone".

Mr de Juniac said he finds it "simply astonishing that governments have not rallied to support much wider production of SAF", given aviation's existing dependence on carbon based fuel an the potential for SAF to reduce carbon lifecycle emissions by up to 80%.

He added that is it "long past time for governments to step up to their environmental obligations and set a regulatory and legal framework that stimulates the sustainable aviation fuels industry", in a similar fashion to that provided for the development of the wind and solar power sectors.

Excerpt from original report: Remarks of Alexandre de Juniac at the 2020 Legal Symposium, New York

Climate Change

The first area is climate change. Aviation’s contribution to manmade carbon emissions is 2%—a figure that has been stable in relative terms to other polluters despite the rapid growth of aviation.

In absolute terms, however, aviation’s emissions will grow with demand for air travel. And so we committed to cap aviation’s net emissions with carbon-neutral growth from 2020. This was a major step for a carbon intensive industry with no alternative energy source.

And early on, we recognized that achieving this would require the industry to work together with common goals.

One of those was to get governments to implement a single global economic measure to supplement our own activities in improving technology, operations and infrastructure, because we realized these would not be sufficient. And we also knew that our progress would be seriously compromised if a patchwork of environmental regulations, taxes and charges emerged.

We were successful. CORSIA—the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation—was a landmark agreement reached by governments at the ICAO Assembly in 2016.

Governments must now keep their commitment.

Too many are inventing taxes in the name of the environment but that do not actually help the environment. They merely siphon money that we could invest in sustainability projects.

And they undermine the effectiveness of CORSIA and the political consensus on which it was built. We were unsuccessful in fighting one of these rogue taxes in France. But we will remain vigilant for other opportunities to legally challenge governments as part of our advocacy efforts.

Looking beyond legal battles and carbon neutral growth, we have a very tough 2050 goal—to reduce net emissions to half 2005 levels, irrespective of growth.

Here too global standards have a role to play. Sustainable aviation fuel – or “SAF” – is the biggest hope but we cannot do it alone.

I find it simply astonishing that governments have not rallied to support much wider production of SAF, given that aviation has no choice but to use carbon-based fuel for the intermediate term and that SAF can reduce carbon lifecycle emissions by up to 80%.

Aviation has done virtually all the heavy lifting to validate SAF. It is long past time for governments to step up to their environmental obligations and set a regulatory and legal framework that stimulates the sustainable aviation fuels industry—the same way that governments incentivized the development of the wind and solar power sectors.

Cargolux Airlines International signs pledge to cease single use plastics

Cargolux Airlines International signed (20-Feb-2020) IMS Luxembourg's 'Zero Single-Use plastic pledge'. The pledge is a formal commitment to eliminate single use plastic within the company by the end of 2020.

Original report: Cargolux pledges against plastic

Cargolux Airlines is pleased to announce the signature of IMS Luxembourg’s Zero Single-Use plastic pledge, a formal commitment to eliminate single-use plastic within the company by the end of the year. This is an important milestone for the company’s corporate responsibility program and its commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The manifesto that counts over 70 signatories, was launched by IMS (Inspiring More Sustainability), detailing the steps to be followed to achieve this goal. It lists the elimination of plastic cups, straws, single-use cutlery, and non-reusable food containers among others. The project also supports the development of circular economy and promotes the reduce-reuse-recycle consumption model.

This exciting new step is welcomed and supported by both management and employees. “We are proud to have signed the Zero Single-Use Plastic pledge, and we intend to work towards achieving this goal in the shortest possible timeframe. Corporate responsibility ranks high on Cargolux’s agenda and this is a landmark decision for our company”, highlights Moa Sigurdardottir, Head of Corporate Communications and CSR.

The timing is ideal for introducing these new measures as the airline is currently preparing the move to its new headquarters. These premises were designed according to a sustainable philosophy and provide the perfect opportunity to embed this commitment further into the company’s work ethic. The company is also working closely with Luxair Services Catering department to remove single-use plastic from the cockpit, an ambitious goal that is to be achieved by the end of the year.

Cargolux is notoriously committed to CSR and strives to act where it can, to develop in line with this engagement. The airline is a frontrunner in the industry in terms of sustainable operation and also gets involved at its home base in Luxembourg to promote an ethical and environmentally aware business model. After signing the international UN Global Compact in 2007, Cargolux became a member of IMS, Luxembourg’s leading network for Corporate Responsibility in May 2019, a reflection of its local engagement.

airBaltic meal preorders up 49.5%, carrier continues work on sustainability of onboard service

airBaltic reported (20-Feb-2020) passengers who preorder meals increased 49.5% year-on-year in 2019, while popularity of inflight meals increased 19.8%.

Inflight services manager Zane Pabērza said the carrier is continuing to gradually replace single use plastics for onboard service and is working on more environmentally friendly packaging. airBaltic is evaluating suppliers more thoroughly and prioritising those that can fulfil the carrier's sustainability requirements.

Original report: airBaltic pre-order meals up by 50%

airBaltic pre-order meals up by 50%

In 2019, the number of airBaltic passengers who chose to pre-order their meal from a menu of over 70 different fresh meals, increased by 49.5%, while the popularity of inflight meals grew 19.8%.

Zane Pabērza, airBaltic Inflight Services Manager: “We follow the industry trends and are now updating our pre-order menu once a year. It is important for us to offer fresh options to our passengers and cater to a large variety of dietary needs. Our new approach as well as the launch of pre-order menu in Tallinn has helped for the service to grow more popular.”

“This year we are continuing to gradually replace single use plastics in our on-board service, working on more environmentally-friendly packaging. We are evaluating our suppliers more thoroughly, prioritizing those that can fulfil our sustainability requirements,” Zane Pabērza added.

In 2019, the most popular pre order meals were teriyaki salmon, pork fillet and Latvian-style chicken. Concerning inflight meals, the top three options among airBaltic passengers were croissant, salmon sandwich and panini.

airBaltic offers an extensive meal pre-order system with more than 70 fresh dishes available up to 24 hours before departure on www.airbaltic.com or purchase it at travel agencies. In addition, for flights departing from Riga, eight most popular meal options are available during online check-in up to an hour before departure. airBaltic offers dietary and special meals for different dietary and religious requirements, including gluten-free, low calorie, diabetic, low cholesterol, raw, vegetarian and vegan dishes.

In 2020, airBaltic continues its expansion in the Baltics and will launch 14 new routes, including four new direct destinations from TallinnEstonia, and five new destinations from VilniusLithuania. A complete schedule of airBaltic flights and tickets for the new destinations are already available on the company's website at www.airbaltic.com.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport begins fuelling shuttle bus fleet with renewable natural gas

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport partnered (20-Feb-2020) with Clean Energy to begin transitioning its shuttle bus fleet to renewable natural gas (RNG).

As of 01-Jan-2020, Austin-Bergstrom started fuelling half of its shuttle fleet with RNG, which will reduce the airport's carbon footprint by approximately 20% at no extra cost.

Original report: Clean Energy Partnership to Reduce Austin-Bergstrom International Airport’s Carbon Footprint by 20%

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) began its transition to renewable natural gas (RNG) on January 1, 2020, with the help of Clean Energy, the leading provider of natural gas fuel for transportation in North America and a longtime partner with AUS. This partnership calls for Clean Energy to provide AUS with its Redeem™ brand of renewable natural gas (RNG), the first commercially available vehicle fuel made entirely from 100% organic waste.

The AUS shuttle bus fleet has historically utilized alternative fuels. To ensure continued operation, half of the fleet utilizes propane, and the other half is compressed natural gas (CNG).  As of January 1, AUS started fueling half of its shuttle bus fleet with RNG, an ultra-low carbon fuel that is cleaner than traditional compressed natural gas (CNG). This will reduce the AUS carbon footprint by approximately 20% at no extra cost to the airport. 
  
“We’re very excited to partner with our provider Clean Energy to switch over to RNG. This will have a significant impact on our carbon footprint and is a major step toward achieving our sustainability goals,” said B.J. Carpenter, sustainability program coordinator with AUS. 
  
Natural gas-powered vehicles have been playing an active role at U.S. airports for over two decades, with more than 40 airports across the country running their ground transportation fleets on CNG. The benefits of fueling airport transportation vehicles with natural gas are clear: lower fuel costs compared to diesel, improved public health and air quality, reduced environmental impact from greenhouse gas, and increased U.S. energy independence. 
  
“Switching to vehicles fueled with RNG supports AUS’ commitment to sustainable and responsible transportation and we’re proud to be part of this initiative,” said Chad Lindholm, vice president, Clean Energy. “This is a prime example of an airport taking action to lessen the environmental impact of their shuttle fleet.” 
  
Last year, AUS attained level 2 Carbon Accreditation in the Airports Council International’s program. This multi-step international program independently assesses and recognizes airports efforts to manage and reduce CO2 emissions. Austin-Bergstrom’s goal is to reach carbon neutrality this year.

Raleigh-Durham International Airport plans to double fleet of electric buses

Raleigh-Durham International Airport announced (20-Feb-2020) the airport authority's board of directors voted to double its fleet of electric buses by purchasing four additional Proterra Catalyst buses.

The four new buses will be purchased for USD3.3 million, with delivery expected in 2021.

Original report: RDU Passenger Traffic Grows By Eight Percent in January

Nearly half a million passengers boarded flights at RDU in January, representing an eight percent hike over the same month in 2019. The increase follows a year of record-setting growth in which 14.2 million people traveled through the airport.

Spirit Airlines announced it will double the number of daily nonstop flights from RDU to Orlando beginning in April and American and Delta continue to compete for a share of the highly competitive Raleigh-Durham market. The two carriers accounted for a combined 57% of airport traffic for the month, compared to 54% a year ago.

“RDU continues to grow briskly along with the Research Triangle region and there is no slowdown in sight,” said Michael Landguth, president and CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. “Our customers will benefit from competition in the market as airlines expand their offerings and compete to serve business and leisure travelers.”

AllegiantSpirit to Move to Terminal 1: RDU is on track to open two additional gates in Terminal 1 to accommodate Spirit and Allegiant, who are relocating from Terminal 2. Both airlines are expected to begin operations out of T1 in April using gates A3 and A4.

 Exceeding Small Business Goals: RDU is exceeding its goals under the Minority and Women-Owned Small Businesses (MWSB) program that encourages diversity in the Airport Authority’s business activities. RDU requires that each business partner make good faith efforts to promote the MWSB policy and staff have reported some notable numbers:

  • Construction goals are 8% for minority-owned and 5% for women-owned small businesses. RDU has reached 8% and 12% respectively this fiscal year.
  • Goals for services provided are goals are 7% minority and 4% women-owned. Actual numbers are 10% and 3%.
  • For goods, RDU’s goals are 5% minority and 5% women-owned, with results of 4% and 20%.

Going Green, Again: the Airport Authority’s Board of Directors voted Thursday to double its fleet of electric buses by purchasing four additional Proterra Catalyst buses. RDU became the first public entity in the Triangle to launch electric buses when it rolled out four Proterras last May. The buses have more than 100,000 miles on them and have saved RDU an estimated $47,000 on fuel and maintenance costs. The four new buses will be purchased for $3.3 million and delivery is expected in 2021.

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