Air France-KLM presented its 2019 Sustainability Report
The Air France KLM group was chosen as the most sustainable group in the world by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, the most important indicator worldwide
After reaching its 2020 targets in 2019, the Air France-KLM group set new and ambitious goals to reduce its environmental impact by 2030. To name just a few, a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions per passenger / km in relative to 2005 levels, 50% reduction over 2011 levels in the production of non-recyclable waste and zero emission in onshore operations.
In the context of the global crisis caused by Covid-19, the transformation of Air France-KLM implies an acceleration of its environmental ambitions, not only for its own future but for the future of the entire aviation industry.
"I want to thank the 83,000 employees of the Air France-KLM Group, who, thanks to their responsibility and their environmental and social commitment, have enabled the Group to achieve its environmental goals in 2019," said Ben Smith, CEO of Air France KLM. " I am convinced that this Covid-19 crisis is a catalyst to accelerate the transformation of civil aviation, and further strengthen our long-standing commitment to a transition to a more sustainable future, as we seek to strike an ecological and economic balance. recover our competitiveness in a profoundly transformed world, but also reaffirm our leadership in the sustainable transition of our sector. These are the priorities of the Air France-KLM Group, "he added.
Reduce, compensate, investigate: the Air France KLM Group's sustainability strategy
The strategy of the Air France KLM group in relation to caring for the environment is organized around four focuses: reduction of CO2 emissions, compensation for emissions that cannot yet be reduced, reduction in waste production and research to achieve aviation more sustainable.
1. Reduction of CO2 emissions
In 2019, KLM and Air France reduced their CO2 emissions per passenger / km compared to 2005 by 31% and 25% respectively. After this achievement, both companies set the ambitious target of -50% emissions by 2030.
The renewal of the fleet with lower fuel consumption aircraft contributed significantly to the achievements made in 2019. Last year, the Group received 22 new, quieter and lower fuel consumption aircraft: Boeing 787-9 and 787-10 Dreamliner for KLM and Airbus A350 for Air France. Both companies expect to receive more state-of-the-art aircraft: A350 and A220 for Air France and B787-9 and B787-10 and Embraer 195 E2 for KLM. The COVID-19 crisis also accelerated the departure of less environmentally friendly aircraft: the most polluting, Airbus A380, Air France A340 and KLM's Boeing 747, were gradually withdrawn from the fleet.
The replacement of short-haul flights by train connections is another strong point of the strategy. In the case of KLM, the first connection to remove is the route between Amsterdam and Brussels. In the case of Air France, the company intends to reduce the number of domestic routes to those destinations accessible by train in less than 2:30. Air France has set a goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 50% on flights within France by 2024.
Air France and KLM are also working on reducing weight on board and optimizing routes to reduce fuel consumption and therefore CO2 emissions.
2. Compensation for CO2 emissions
Emissions that cannot yet be reduced can be offset, mainly through reforestation projects. In 2019, Air France pledged to proactively offset the CO2 emissions of all its flights within France starting in January 2020, representing some 450 flights and 57,000 daily passengers. Air France is the first company in the world to offset all the emissions generated on its domestic flights. In cooperation with its partner EcoAct, this compensation takes the form of participation in internationally certified projects that bring significant benefits to the local population, supporting reforestation, preserving forests and biodiversity and developing renewable energy. Currently, these projects, voted by Air France KLM's own clients, are in Brazil, Peru, Kenya, India and Cambodia.
Air France also offers the Trip and Tree program, in cooperation with the A Tree for You association, which brings together, in complete transparency, donors and tree planting projects from around the world. By purchasing a plane ticket, customers can help the planet by making a donation, of whatever value they prefer, to fund one of the selected tree planting projects.
Thanks to KLM's CO2ZERO compensation program, the trip of 175,000 passengers was carbon neutral last year, double that of 2018. This allowed the planting of 680 hectares of tropical forest in Panama.
3. Recycle, reduce and limit the production of waste
Both Air France and KLM set 50% non-recyclable waste reduction targets for 2030 compared to 2011. In 2019, the Group reduced non-recyclable waste by 31% compared to 2011. This goal will be achieved by producing less waste overall and increasing the proportion of what can be recycled.
KLM is also investing in other innovative ideas, such as recycling different catering items in a closed system and recycling PET bottles to produce 3D printer filament to produce maintenance tools.
For its part, Air France eliminated 210 million plastic products on board by the end of 2019, which it replaced with bio-based alternatives. This represented a saving of 1,300 tons of plastic per year.
4. Research for more sustainable aviation
In June 2019, 100 days before becoming the first airline to turn 100, KLM launched its Fly Responsibly initiative. In an open letter, KLM invited all actors in the aviation industry - other airlines, suppliers, customers and employees - to join forces to develop sustainable solutions for aviation.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is essential to reduce CO2 emissions in the airline industry. Therefore, it is one of the most important pillars in Air France-KLM's strategy, as well as in the aviation industry in general. Unlike other forms of transport, aviation does not yet have enough alternatives to fossil fuels and, furthermore, the appearance of innovative technologies for commercial aviation in the coming decades is not envisioned.
In 2019, KLM acquired 6,911 tons of SAF and announced its participation in the construction of the first European SAF plant, in cooperation with the SkyNRG company. This will allow KLM to increase its sustainable fuel use in the near future. KLM is the market leader in the purchase and use of this type of fuel. KLM's Corporate Biofuels Program also brought in new partners, such as Microsoft. Air France, for its part, signed an agreement with Shell to supply the flights started in San Francisco with a combination of conventional and sustainable aviation fuel from June 1, 2020.
KLM also contributed to the development of a new aircraft model, called Flying-V, in cooperation with Delft University of Technology. This concept represents a completely new approach to aircraft design, which will make long-haul flight operations much more sustainable in the future. In this V-shaped model, passenger cabins, cargo hold, and fuel tanks are integrated into the wings of the aircraft.