As sustainability gains momentum, customers are increasingly conscious of their carbon footprint, while governments are enacting new regulations. Rather than being viewed as a threat to airlines, at Moment, we see sustainability as an opportunity for airlines to innovate and differentiate themselves.
Airlines are embracing sustainability to offer alternatives and raise awareness, thereby encouraging responsible choices.
Fleet Renewal and Fuel-Efficient Aircraft: Airlines are investing in modern, fuel-efficient aircraft to replace older, less eco-friendly planes. For instance, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have introduced newer aircraft models with improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, such as the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 787 Dreamliner. For example, the Airbus A320neo is estimated to offer approximately 15-20% fuel savings compared to previous versions of the A320 aircraft.
Operational Efficiency Improvements: Airlines are implementing measures to enhance operational efficiency and reduce fuel consumption. This includes optimizing flight routes, minimizing aircraft taxiing time, and reducing weight onboard. These efforts can significantly lower emissions over time. Southwest Airlines and EasyJet have actively focused on operational efficiency to reduce their environmental impact.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Adoption: Several airlines have started incorporating sustainable aviation fuel into their operations. They blend SAF with conventional jet fuel, significantly reducing carbon emissions. For example, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Lufthansa have been using SAF on select flights, resulting in lower carbon footprints. However, the adoption of SAF has been hindered by its high cost. On average, SAF is estimated to be two to four times more expensive than conventional jet fuel, and its limited production sources further restrict its adoption.
According to a report by Bain & Company, Airlines could eliminate 70% of total CO₂ emissions by 70%. 43% would be through fuel efficiencies with current aircraft renewal cycles and operational improvements. Incorporating SAF on a wider scale could reduce CO₂ emissions by up to 23%.
A Realistic Path to Net-Zero Emissions for Commercial Aviation – Bain & Company – 06/05/2023
Carbon Offsetting Programs: Many airlines offer carbon offset programs or Green fares, allowing passengers to voluntarily offset the emissions from their flights. Passengers can contribute to projects that reduce emissions, such as renewable energy installations or reforestation efforts. But offsets alone won’t achieve carbon neutrality for the aviation industry. Recent questions about offset accounting methods have reduced their viability as a solution. Airlines like JetBlue and EasyJet are already moving away from offsets.
Sustainable Cabin Practices: Airlines are adopting sustainable practices within their cabins. This includes reducing single-use plastics, recycling waste generated onboard, and implementing more sustainable catering options. For example, Alaska Airlines has replaced plastic stir sticks with sustainable alternatives, and Emirates has implemented recycling programs on its flights.
Integration with Rail and Ground Transport: Some airlines are integrating air travel with other modes of transportation to reduce emissions. They offer seamless connections with rail services for short-haul journeys, enabling passengers to choose a more sustainable travel option. For example, Deutsche Lufthansa AG offers « Rail & Fly » options, providing passengers with combined air and rail tickets for convenient and eco-friendly travel
Decarbonizing flight is a complex undertaking that requires time and persistent effort. It is more akin to a marathon than a sprint, and meaningful progress is expected to emerge from various stakeholders, including governments, consumers, airlines, and manufacturers.
At Moment, we accompany airlines on their move towards greater sustainability with IFE solutions that help reduce the weight and waste of on-board customer services, while maintaining optimum comfort and optimization of on-board tasks.