Reducing greenhouse gas emissions continuously is part of the carrier’s long-term strategy. During the ‘Climate Care’ conference it became apparent that the airline is well on track in realizing its self-set climate goals, as demonstrated to the Frankfurt participants in a comparison of original objectives and achievements already accomplished.
´According to LH Cargo’s environmental manager Bettina Jansen, her company reduced fuel consumption of the 19 units that make up the freighter fleet, by 15.8% from 2005 until today. “We are well
ahead of our 25 percent savings target set for 2020,” Bettina stated. Executive Board member Karl-Rudolph Rupprecht illustrated the result of less kerosene consumption: “These savings are
equivalent to 10 freighter flights Frankfurt-Dakar from the beginning of January this year until today.”
From vision to reality
True to the saying “every drop helps” the carrier took a multitude of steps to reduce the weight of aircraft and/or optimize ground processes further. Sometimes it’s only little adjustments like loading practices or reconditioning the fan blades of the engines or optimizing loading processes by storing heavy shipments at the rear of the main decks, thus initiating a weight-shift to increase the operational performance of an aircraft. Savings in this case: 500 tons of greenhouse gases - annually. “Our globally active Fuel Efficiency Team has made more than 50 proposals to limit CO2 emissions, this has really paid off so far,” applauded Bettina.
Herr Rupprecht added to this that LH Cargo’s freighters emit 1.8 kg CO2 on average for transporting 100 kilograms over a 100 km distance. In contrast, his company’s parent, Lufthansa, sets 4 kg of greenhouse gases free when flying one passenger over 100 km. “This is a very respectable score, but they still have some way to go to match our values!” says Karl-Rudolph.
The winner is – the planet
Bettina Jansen went on to say that in the meantime her airline has taken the next step, offering clients complex transport end-to-end solutions, with particular reference to environmental issues. This is very much in line with DB Schenker’s market approach of jointly developing individualized green products together with shippers and carriers. “We go as far as offering cargo carriers certain volumes over longer periods if they commit to constantly reducing CO2 emissions and adapting green solutions,” Andrea Schoen said. The Senior Manager Carbon Controlling & Consulting admitted, however, that cargo airlines still miss globally accepted binding standards as basis for objectifying environmental parameters and data. This vacuum leaves room for differing interpretations and misunderstandings. Currently experts from various fields and organizations are trying to set up such a system that would set global standards. Among the team are members of LH Cargo.
The era of organic-fuels will come, but when?
Organic fuel was another hotly discussed topic at the Climate conference. To exit fossil fuel usage the sooner the better was the consensus among the participants. But they disagreed over what alternative fuels are best to replace conventional kerosene. Besides the technical aspect it is also a financial issue since organic-fuels stemming from biomass or photovoltaic sources are still extremely expensive with prices 300 percent higher than current jet fuel prices. Also, there is an extremely sensitive aspect: “There is the ongoing plate-tank controversy that we must take very seriously,” stated Joachim Buse, VP Aviation Organic-Fuel at Lufthansa AG. Asked about his airlines’ first commercial flight powered entirely by organic-fuel the manger said: “I estimate this will happen within the next two years.”
Heiner Siegmund / Michael Taweel