NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 4 – The global aviation industry has embarked on major initiative geared toward reducing carbon dioxide emissions in its operations.
The initiative under the banner ‘Fly Responsibly’ is spearheaded by international carrier KLM. It seeks to bring together global aviation actors – airlines, partners, customers and employees – to play a more active role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
The global aviation industry contributes an estimated 2 – 3 per cent of the man-made CO2 emissions in the world.
The overall goal of the ‘Fly Responsible’ initiative is to rally aviation industry stakeholders to join hands in pursuit of a more sustainable future for global aviation. This includes switching from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources and reducing the industry carbon footprint on the planet.
KLM is leading the initiative as part of the airline’s existing sustainability agenda, which includes renewing its fleet to include fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft such as the latest Boeing Dreamliner version, the 787-10.
It has also developed a carbon-offsetting scheme and is building the world’s first sustainable aviation plant in partnership with SkyNRG and SHV Energy. The plant will produce cleaner fuel to power aircraft.
With all these measures, KLM is aiming to reduce carbon dioxide emissions-per-passenger on its fleet and network by 17 per cent compared to 2011 levels.
The airline has also launched an innovative flying concept known as the ‘Flying-V’ – radically new aircraft designs that are 20 per cent more fuel efficient, to make aviation more sustainable. Fuel constitutes the most significant cost in airline operations.
In an open letter to global aviation industry actors, KLM argues that sustainability is not a “one airline topic” and that there’s need to foster a collaborative approach to the environmental challenges posed by aviation-linked CO2 emissions.
Pieter Elbers, President and CEO of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, further explains that ‘Fly Responsibly’ is about getting all aviation industry players to act urgently to reduce the harmful impact of CO2 emission on the planet.
“Actual progress with sustainable development of aviation can only be truly achieved when we work together as an industry. With the launch of the ‘Fly Responsibly’ initiative, we invite others to use our CO2-Zero programme for carbon compensation free of charge and free of brand and partner in our corporate BIO-Fuel programme,” said Elbers.
On his part, KLM Regional Manager for Eastern Africa Arthur Dieffenthaler, says the initiative will also involve local airline staff, partners and customers. “We see this as an opportunity to deepen our relationships with our stakeholders as we commemorate 50 years of flying to East Africa. Sustainability is at the heart of our engagement with partners, customers and employees as an airline.”
KLM plans to launch flights to East Africa on its newest aircraft the 787-10, with the first such flight to Africa landing in Tanzania yesterday. KLM will in October mark the 100th anniversary since establishment by the Dutch pioneer aviator, Albert Plesman.
787-10 flights to Nairobi, Kenya are set to be launched in the coming months. The announcement coincides with the airlines’ 100th anniversary celebrations.
“KLM will be the first European carrier to fly this new type of aircraft, cementing our position as aviation pioneers. Tanzania will have the honor of being the first African destination for KLM using this state-of-the art sustainable airplane,” said added Dieffenthaler.
The Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft, comes with advanced features, making it suitable for long-haul flights. It is the latest addition to the Dreamliner range, a technologically advanced long-haul aircraft, sought after by airlines for its fuel efficiency and reduced carbon footprint.
For the last 14 years, Air-France KLM Group has secured a top-3 position in the Dow-Jones Sustainability Index, which tracks how top global firms perform in environmental, economic and social terms.