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Air France's eco credentials reaching new heights
© Air France - Air France's eco credentials reaching new heights

Reading time: 0 minPublished on 3 May 2023, updated on 16 April 2024

From increasing sustainable aviation fuel usage to lowering in-flight catering footprints and offering allfrench meals onboard, Air France is taking its eco credentials to new heights.

Whether departing Australia for France, or flying within France between major cities, you can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing your air travel is leaving a smaller footprint. Air France’s sustainability strategy is definitively ‘long haul’ – with the goal to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% per passenger by 2030.

Fuel saver

Central to its emissions reduction goals is accelerating sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) usage. SAF, produced from non-fossil fuel sources (cooking oil, or agricultural waste for example), reduces CO2 emissions by a significant 80% on average during production compared with fossil fuels. The airline’s emissions are measured and monitored by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) an independent organisation working to limit global warming to well below 2°C, in line with the Paris Agreement. In 2022, all flights departing France and the Netherlands incorporate the equivalent of 1% of SAF. Plans are underway to increase this to 10% by 2030 and 63% by 2050.

Fuelling sustainability

New long-haul fleet additions are accelerating the shift towards sustainable air travel. Lighter materials in the latest-generation long-haul A350 – 67% lighter – are making a mark in fuel consumption, and emissions are 25% fewer.

Good taste, less waste

There’s another reason for gourmands to get excited mid-fight: all meals in 2022 are French-made, using seasonal ingredients, and there’s even an organic option for children’s meals. In good taste and to reduce waste, Air France passengers can pre-select meals. For 9 out of 100 in-cabin single use plastic components, sustainable-alternative in-flight crockery and utensils are now replacing them.

When it comes to reduce, reuse and recycle, the airline is aiming for the skies, beyond eliminating 90% of single-use plastic by the end of this year. By 2030 Air France is aiming for a 50% reduction in non-recycled waste compared to 2011. Beyond recycling plastic bottles, cardboard juice boxes and aluminium cans, the airline has the recycling of aeronautical metal waste, old seats and staff uniforms also in its sights.

Air France is pushing beyond eco-responsible boundariesAir France is pushing beyond eco-responsible boundaries (photo © Air France)

Eco challengers take flight

Pushing beyond eco-responsible barriers became a reality in May this year: During the SkyTeam Sustainable Flight Challenge, Air France successfully halved its CO2 emissions on two flights, from Paris to Montreal and Lisbon. The challenge – inspired by the 1934 Robertson Air Race during which airlines pioneered long-haul flights between London and Melbourne – was to operate flights as eco-responsibly as possible and identify future best practices. Contributing initiatives included the use of 30% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), 100% electric ramp and cargo transport equipment, eco-piloting (crew-led flight phases and landing) and fully digitised checkin-to-boarding. Plastic packaging for headphones, blankets,and hot towels were replaced with organic,biobased, and recycle materials. Dining trays were reusable and made with recyclable and recycled materials while dishes were made of cellulose, and cassolettes from sugar cane fibre.

Further information Air France

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