In detail

Environment

Carbon footprint


We aim to minimize our impact on the environment, and have set the target to further reduce CO2 emissions with 50% by 2030 per passenger kilometer compared to 2005. To achieve this ambition, we focus on fleet renewal, improving operational efficiency, using sustainable aviation fuels and carbon offsetting.

GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS: SCOPES 1, 2 AND 3

Scope 1

The most significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) comes from our direct activities (scope 1), mainly from flight operations which account for 99.7% of the Group’s total direct emissions. To minimize our environmental footprint, we have focused our actions on flight operations.

Reducing our CO2 emissions goes hand in hand with fuel use reduction. Therefore, one of the focus points in our environmental policy is to reduce the use of fuel. Operating with more fuel-efficient aircraft, implementing weight reduction measures on board, optimizing flight routes and improving flight operations all contribute to the reduction of fuel use.

Secondly, we believe that the use of sustainable aviation fuels is essential in further reducing our CO2 emissions. Consequently, both Air France and KLM have policies and programs in place that stimulate the development and use of those. Currently, there is not enough supply to operate fully on sustainable aviation fuels. Therefore, carbon offsetting is a mid-term option to reduce our environmental footprint.

Other sources of scope 1 emissions include the emission from ground operations such as vehicles and runway equipment, gas use and the testing of aircraft engines. 

Scope 2

Ground operations, like the aircraft maintenance and tertiary activities, also generate indirect greenhouse gas emissions (scope 2) through electricity consumption in buildings (electricity, heating and air conditioning). We implement actions to reduce ground energy consumption.

Scope 3

The indirect scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions mostly come from the upstream phase (extraction, production, distribution, etc.) in aviation kerosene.  

Other scope 3 components are the purchasing of goods and services, passenger road travel to and from airports, and employee commuting. We are examining these components with a view to reducing emissions.

For air travel, scope 3 emissions account for around 16% of total emissions (scopes 1, 2 and 3).

Reporting

Every year, we report 100% of our scope 1 and 2 CO2 emissions, and the scope 3 emissions resulting from the upstream phase of kerosene production (according to the assessment made by the Group, these emissions represent approximately half of the total scope 3 emissions). These emissions are published in the form of indicators presented in the environmental indicator tables in the Air France-KLM Universal Registration Document 2019 (section 4.3.6).


FUEL SAVING MEASURES

Fleet modernization

Our fleet in 2019:

  • 554 aircraft
  • 11.6 years (average age)

We are pursuing a proactive policy of fleet renewal and modernization, thereby contributing to the improvement in the fleet’s energy efficiency and a reduction in its environmental footprint. 2019 marked the entry of the three first A350-900s into the Air France fleet.

On May 20th 2020, in the context of the current COVID-19 crisis and its impact on anticipated activity levels, the Air France-KLM Group announced the definitive end of Air France Airbus A380 operations. Initially scheduled by the end of 2022, the phase-out of A380 fleet fits in the Group fleet simplification strategy of making the fleet more competitive, by continuing its transformation with more modern, high-performance aircraft with a significantly reduced environmental footprint. A380 will be replaced by new generation aircraft, including Airbus A350 and Boeing 787, whose deliveries are ongoing. 

Air France Group’s fleet in 2019:

  • Air France: In the long-haul fleet, withdrew two A340s from its fleet list, replacing them with two new B787-9s and three new A350-900s. In the medium-haul fleer, retired one old-generation A319, replacing it with an A320.
  • HOP!: Nine ATRs and one EMB145 retired, replacing them by the entry into the fleet of four new EMB190s.
  • Transavia France:  Delivery of four B737-800s. These new generation aircraft are fitted with “blended winglets”. The winglets, which save 400 tonnes of fuel per 737-800 per year, and reduce CO2 emissions by 1,200 tonnes per year per aircraft.

Air France also placed an order for ten more A350-900s and 60 A200-300s, thereby accelerating the renewal of its fleet and anticipating the phasing out of less-energy-efficient aircraft. 

KLM Group’s fleet in 2019:

  • KLM welcomed its first four B787-10s into its fleet together with four B737-800 aircraft, replacing three B747-400s and two B737-700s. 

In the next period, fleet modernization results in phasing out of KLM’s B747-400s and replacing them with B787-10s, and in the ongoing growth in the A350-900 fleet within Air France. The introduction of an A220-300 for Air France as of 2021 and the EMB 195 E2 for KLM will also enable the modernization of the Group’s short and medium-haul fleet. Transavia (France and the Netherlands) will see its fleet adapted to the growth market in the leisure segment.

We will continue to invest in cabin refurbishment, as is currently the case for the A330-200s and B777-300s, as well as in the satellite on board connectivity proposition, enabling customers to be offered an in-flight WiFi connection.

For more information on the Group’s fleet, see the Universal Registration Document 2019 Section 1.3.4.

Operational measures

We identify and implement every possible fuel saving measures, subject to strict rules for flight safety. In each airline of the Group, all the departments are involved in the Fuel Plan, so that the Group can improve its energy efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint.

By analysing flight performance, the Fuel Plan aims to reduce fuel use through various projects, focusing on fuel policies, fuel standards, accurate planning information, route optimization, and weight reduction.

At Air France, to face new environmental and economic challenges, the new Flight Efficiency 2020 project was built on previous achievements, seizes new opportunities, and is supported by the latest innovations. Air France’s goal for 2020 is to achieve an additional annual reduction of 50,000 tonnes of fuel, reducing our CO2 emissions by 150,000 tonnes.

At KLM, the target of reducing fuel use by 4 million liters in 2019 has been exceeded with a total fuel reduction of 4.3 million liters. These savings resulting from the Fuel Savings Plan have saved a total of 10,900 tonnes of CO2. Between 2012 and 2019 in total 96,000 tonnes of  CO2 has been avoided. 

Weight reduction

The lighter an aircraft is, the less fuel it consumes. All Air France-KLM departments are continuously working to reduce weight onboard. The onboard products are chosen and adjusted based on cost,  durability and weight, in order to reduce fuel consumption. Some examples in 2019:

  • Onboard materials: optimisation of meal trays and crockery, new trolleys. For example, Air France chose to replace the china dishware by lighter melamine dishware for business and La Première Class on longer flights (long and medium haul).

  • Aeronautical materials: the tow bar which previously was transported on the Air France’s A380 has been removed.
  • Drinking water carried on board: adaptation of daily prescriptions depending on the type of aircraft, the load factor and the duration of the flight. Twice a year, flights to new destinations are analyzed in order to optimize the quantity of water onboard. The need is calculated on the basis of an average hourly consumption per passenger. 
  • KLM’s efforts to reduce the weight of the cabin and in-flight products enabled a CO2 reduction of around 7,000 tons in 2019Main weight reducing contributions resulted from replacing the food tray on intercontinental flights with a lighter version, upgrading the cabin, removal of onboard tax-free sales and the removal of magazines and newspapers in World Business ClassContinuous optimization of food and beverage loading based on return rates and predictive analysis has contributed to both reducing weight and to preventing waste.  

Route optimization

Improvements in fuel efficiency are made through the optimization of routes and flight paths, the reduction of aircraft waiting times and optimized altitudes. Air France-KLM is proactively involved in the SESAR program, which contributes to the targets of the Single European Sky (SES) directed at better management of air traffic. SESAR aims to contribute to the SES 10% CO2 reduction target by reducing fuel burn. These were the results in 2019:

  • Air France made efforts to optimize the routes and overflight charges of Asia.
  • KLM’s route optimization efforts resulted in an additional CO2 reduction of 2,860 tonnes.

 

Optimizing flight operations

Pilots of the Group are trained to apply the most fuel-efficient procedures possible: flight plan precision, speed adjustments and optimized procedures, landing configurations, and, on the ground, taxiing with one engine. New efficient tools based on artificial intelligence are being implemented, in partnership with innovative startups. For example in 2019:

  • During the flight, pilots use connected tools that allow them to optimize flight levels and routes. An experiment was carried out at Air France with the company PACE to test their vertical plan optimization tool and thus reduce flight consumption. In addition, modules offered by SafetyLine have also been integrated into the pilot tools.
  • Transavia was the first company in France to implement the SkyBreathe solution, by joining forces with OpenAirlines, a start-up labeled by the Solar Impulse Foundation. The SkyBreathe tool allows to follow very closely the application of fuel saving best practices for each flight. Transavia France has also signed a contract with the start-up Safety Line to implement OptiClimb, an Artificial Intelligence solution that optimizes the climb profile of the aircraft.

Ground operations and optimization of aircraft performance

At the platforms and hangars, multiple initiatives support the optimal performance of the aircraft during flight.

  • Innovations in all areas of maintenance to improve aircraft performance. This includes the engine water wash and the washing of the aircraft exterior to optimize aerodynamics, and the engine removal cycles.
  • Better use of ground-based engine replacement equipment for air-conditioning and aircraft power, and greater investment in environmentally friendly equipment.
  • In 2019, KLM introduced a mobile solution to execute the engine water wash at the platform in addition to washing at the hangar.  This mobile alternative can save up to 24,000 tonnes CO2 per year.

SUSTAINABLE AVIATION FUEL

Sustainable aviation fuel is key to reduce CO2 emissions in aviation. Therefore, it is one of the most important pillars in Air France-KLM’s strategy to reduce CO2 emission, as well as in those of the aviation industry as a whole. Unlike other forms of transportation, the aviation industry has no sufficient alternatives to fossil fuels yet and, moreover, no ground-breaking technologies are envisaged for commercial aviation in the coming decades. In 2019:

  • 6,911 tonnes of Sustainable Aviation Fuel was purchased, together with its partners in the KLM Corporate Biofuel Programme.
  • Air France and Shell signed a memorandum of undertaking confirming their commitment to fueling the airline’s flights on departure from San Francisco with a blend of conventional and sustainable fuel for aviation as of June 1, 2020.

CARBON OFFSETTING

Mandatory CO2 compensation

Since 2012, the Group has been subject to the European Union Emission Trading Scheme for greenhouse gas emission quotas (EU-ETS). Until the end of 2023, the EU-ETS scope is limited to intra-European flights. 

The global market-based mechanism established by ICAO, known as CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation), aims to limit the CO2 emissions from international aviation by targeting carbon neutral growth relative to the 2020 baseline. Air France, KLM and the other IATA airline members continue to work actively on the implementation conditions of this agreement.

2019 was the first year of CORSIA reporting in order to determine the baseline for international emissions (the CORSIA agreement baseline being the average of the years 2019 and 2020); the Air France-KLM group complied with this reporting at the end of April 2020.

The implementation of CORSIA offsetting will begin with a first phase from 2021 to 2026, based on the routes between States volunteering to contribute, i.e. currently 81 countries, representing around 76% of international aviation activity. 

The EU will implement the ICAO’s CORSIA scheme in the current EU-ETS regulations for aviation for the scope of international flights. In this context, Air France-KLM considers that its CO2 emissions are not simultaneously subject to both the EU-ETS and CORSIA. Assuming a change to the provisions of the EU-ETS, the Group is calling for a detailed impact study to be conducted on the envisaged amendments, and is drawing attention to the need for the prior design of a carbon adjustment mechanism at the frontiers of the European Union, to protect the European airlines from “carbon leakage”.

Voluntary carbon offsetting and support for environmental programs

Air France, KLM and Transavia offer their individual and corporate customers the opportunity to offset their CO2 emissions on a voluntary basis, by making CO2 emission calculators available to customers on the websites. These calculators are directly linked to an emission evaluation system, enabling passengers to offset the carbon emissions associated with their travel, should they so wish.

With the Trip and Tree program, Air France is partnering the A Tree for You association which brings together, in complete transparency, donors and tree-planting projects from all over the world. When purchasing a flight ticket, customers can help the planet by making a donation, with an amount of choice, to finance one of the tree-planting projects supported by the Trip and Tree program. 

  

KLM’s compensation service CO2ZERO enables passengers to offset their carbon emissions.

  • Customer contributions are invested directly in a carbon-offsetting project in Panama certified by the Gold Standard for the Global Goals label that focuses on planting new trees, preserving existing forests and supporting the local community.
  • In 2019, the number of journeys booked including a CO2 compensation request doubled compared to the previous year, with more than 175,000 customers opting to offset their flight-related emissions.
  • 2019 was the first year in which KLM included the price of CO2 compensation prominently in its sales campaigns.

Transavia also offers its customers the opportunity to offset their CO2 emissions on a voluntary basis when booking thanks to the CO2ZERO program. 

Since January 1, 2020, Air France has been proactively offsetting 100% of the CO2 emissions generated by its domestic flights.

  • This represents a daily average of more than 450 flights and over 57,000 customers.
  • In cooperation with its partner EcoAct, this compensation takes the form of participation in projects certified by the highest international standards, and selected for their effective contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their significant benefits for the local population, to support reforestation, preserve forests and biodiversity, and develop renewable energies.
  • Air France is one of the first airlines in the world to offset the emissions generated by its domestic flights. 

Lastly, corporate customers can also opt for voluntary compensation of up to 100% of the emissions generated on their short, medium and long-haul flights via a dedicated offer. 

For more information on these programs see: Biodiversity.


GROUND ENERGY CONSUMPTION

Energy consumption in the ground operations, such as fuel use for ground support equipment, gas for heating purposes and electricity for aircraft maintenance and tertiary activities, generates direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions (scope 1 and scope 2). 

We are targeting a 20% improvement in ground operations energy efficiency by 2020 (relative to the 2011 level), by optimizing energy consumption and increasing the use of renewable energies. Air France reached this target in 2017 and KLM in 2019.

Air France and KLM have the target of carbon-neutral ground operations in 2030. The reporting corresponding to this target will be put in place in 2020. In 2019, we reduced our CO2 emissions by 32% compared to 2018.

  • We pursued actions to reduce our energy consumption, in particular by upgrading equipment and including this objective in supplier contracts. For example, at Air France, a new energy-efficient lighting system has replaced the traditional system in the cargo warehouses and is being deployed at the maintenance sites, enabling a near-80% saving (reduction in energy and maintenance costs) and a saving of 550 tons of CO2 a year.

  • Other initiatives are based on the increased use of renewable energies. For example, at Toulouse and Valbonne, in the south of France where the bulk of the IT servers are located, 100% of the heating needs of the tertiary buildings are met by recycling the heat generated by the air conditioning system. Photovoltaic energy projects will be deployed at the company’s facilities in Toulouse and the Paris-CDG head office: in total, this equipment will generate power of 1,300 KWc.
  • KLM achieved a 59% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from its ground operations compared to their 2011 level. This was achieved in part by increasing electricity efficiency by at least 2% per annum as part of a fifth multi-year energy efficiency agreement with the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs running through to 2020.
  • KLM took a major step towards this ambition in 2019 by switching to green electricity. A further reduction in greenhouse gas emissions has resulted from increasing the share of electric ground support equipment to almost 60%, replacing diesel with Gas-to-Liquid and reducing gas consumption.

© AIR FRANCE KLM