The Lufthansa Group has been involved in climate research since 1994. During this time, a number of Lufthansa passenger aircraft have been operating as “flying laboratories” with the aim of analyzing the composition of the middle atmosphere, without generating additional emissions in the process. The aviation group is a pioneer in this field and has made significant contributions towards improving weather forecasting and climate models.


In-service Aircraft for a Global Observing System

Since 2011

Objective: Develop a global measurement infrastructure to monitor the Earth’s atmosphere with the help of civil aviation.

Our contribution: The first IAGOS aircraft, the Airbus A340-300 “Viersen”, has been in deployment since 7 July 2011. That day, in cooperation with the Forschungszentrum Jülich, Lufthansa became the first airline worldwide to launch this innovative project for the long-term observation of the earth’s atmosphere during scheduled flight operations. The specially developed new instrument package is light, durable and virtually maintenance-free. In 2015, Lufthansa installed the IAGOS measuring equipment on a second aircraft. Since then, the Lufthansa Airbus A330-300 with the registration D-AIKO has collected data concerning atmospheric trace elements and cloud components at cruising altitude on each flight.

Results: In 2013, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) included the IAGOS project in its national roadmap for research infrastructure. The scientific council appointed by the BMBF believes that continuously recording atmospheric data on a global basis will make it possible to close an important knowledge gap so that more precise climate predictions can be made.

Further information from our project partners:


Civil Aircraft for the Regular Investigation of the atmosphere Based on an Instrument Container

Since 2004

Objective: Basic research to help understand the Earth’s atmosphere.

Our contribution: In 2004, a Lufthansa Airbus A340-600 was fitted with a unique 1.6-tonne measurement container. Since then, different trace elements and greenhouse gases, as well as the concentration and spatial distribution of aerosols, have been measured on international routes. In addition to the onboard measurements, 80 air samples are taken each time for further analysis in European laboratories.

Results: Observation of an annual increase in CO2 levels in the atmosphere. New insights into transport processes of polluted air masses as well as cloud formation processes.

Further information from our project partners:


Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay

Since 1999

Objective: Collection of meteorological data for daily weather forecasts.

Our contribution: Since late 1999, some 350 Lufthansa aircraft have been taking measurements during flights, available worldwide to all national meteorological services and which are directly incorporated into the preparation of weather forecasts.

Results: Improvement of weather forecasting. Replacement of costly radiosonde measurements by individual national weather services.