By Hemal Gosai
KLM Unveils Efforts For Sustainable Flight
Sustainable aviation has slowly been gaining ground over the past few years. We’ve seen start ups across the world try to electrify flight or use hydrogen to power planes. In addition, the movement towards carbon neutral flight operations is prominent.
This technology is still in its infancy and has a long road to travel before it becomes commercially viable. What airlines are doing in the meantime is coming up with ways to reduce carbon emissions. This is through flying more fuel-efficient aircraft, utilizing fuel burn reduction techniques and utilizing sustainable aviation fuel.
It’s no surprise that the environmentally conscious folks in Europe are the ones leading the charge given their recent push towards more utilization of sustainable aviation fuel.
One such airline is KLM. The airline is aiming to reduce carbon emissions by 30% over the next 7 years compared to 2019 levels.
KLM is taking part in the Sustainable Flight Challenge, a challenge to come up with new ideas and feasible solutions for sustainable aviation. A group of KLM employees had come up with the idea after drawing inspiration from the London to Melbourne Race in 1934.
This race aimed to make the world more accessible and connect people with one another. The Sustainable Flight Challenge focuses on driving the world towards operating regular commercial scheduled service as sustainably as possible.
KLM flew two rountrip flights from May 16 to May 18 from Amsterdam to Los Angeles to kick off the challenge. The route will be operated by a Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner and will test new initiatives in aviation sustainability.
The first of which is using sustainable aviation fuel. The goal is for the airline to operate the flights from both airports with a fuel blend that contains 50 percent sustainable aviation fuel, the maximum amount airlines are permitted to use.
The airline is also focusing on weight reduction across the cargo and passenger sections of the aircraft. Cardboard will be introduced across several components of the cargo operation. Instead of wood supports and wooden pallets, a type of cardboard, will be used that is comprised of 94 percent recycled paper.
Within the passenger cabin, lighter tableware and recycled trays. Most notably, the airline will not be serving any meat on flights to Los Angeles to further reduce environmental impact. Cabin crew will also have new uniforms and supplies made of organic and recycled materials. The number of paper boarding passes will also be reduced along with an elimination of printing at gates.
The expectation is that all of this will result in a signification reduction in carbon emissions. Last year’s attempt saw a reduction in emissions by 37 percent compared to regular commercial services. This year should see a greater reduction in emissions. Results will be released at the end of June.