Air transport connects people, countries and cultures around the world. Its economic importance is enormous, it drives employment and it ensures the fast and reliable flow of goods. At the same time, it has undesirable effects on climate and the environment. For the Lufthansa Group, this goes hand in hand with the responsibility to reduce the environmental impact of our business activities to the unavoidable minimum – in the air and on the ground.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA 2018, values for 2016), global air traffic accounts for 2.83 percent of CO2 emissions. It should be noted that approximately 80 percent of CO2 generated by air traffic is emitted on flights > 1500 km. There are hardly any mobility alternatives for these routes. Domestic air traffic on its own accounted for 0.3 percent of CO2 emissions in Germany.
To reduce CO2 emissions, the Lufthansa Group is consistently pursuing a four-pillar strategy. It comprises technological, operational and infrastructural measures as well as supplementary economic instruments.
The Lufthansa Group continuously invests billions of euros in ever more efficient aircraft. This is the biggest lever to make flight operations more efficient and to reduce emissions in aviation. For example, modern twin-engine long-haul aircraft is replacing four-engine aircraft. This significantly reduces kerosene consumption and CO2 emissions. It is important to know: Air traffic has been growing CO2-neutrally on all domestic German and European flights since 2012 - as it is the only mode of transport to participate in EU emissions trading.
In addition to investing in efficient aircraft, sustainable alternative fuels are an important component in neutralizing emissions directly in aviation. Here, too, the Lufthansa Group is active and, together with the Heide refinery in Hamburg, signed a letter of intent at the beginning of 2019 for the production and acceptance of synthetic kerosene from regionally generated wind energy. Before the aircraft of the Lufthansa Group airlines can use alternative fuels, a number of basic requirements must be fulfilled. They include above all reliable quality specifications, sustainability in production and along the supply chain, and economic efficiency, of course.
The Lufthansa Group again established a new efficiency record in 2018: The aircraft of the passenger fleets needed only 3.65 liters of kerosene on average to transport one passenger over a distance of 100 kilometers (2017: 3.68 l/100 pkm). This is an improvement of 0.8 percent compared with the previous year. The new fuel efficiency record is in large part the result of the long-term fleet modernization program and numerous operative measures aimed at conserving kerosene.
Since 1994, the Group has been able to reduce specific fuel consumption by as much as 30 percent.