At the airports where we operate, the majority of gaseous emissions and particulates are emitted by aircraft movements (taxiing, take-off and landing). The remainder is produced by ground activities, maintenance operations, logistics and road access to the airport for passengers, employees and suppliers.
We aim to reduce our local emissions to lower our local impact. To reach this goal, we focus on the following measures:
- investing in new, more energy efficient fleet
- improving operational ground procedures
- introducing electric or more efficient Ground Support Equipment (GSE) and vehicles, powered by cleaner fuels
- developing eco-mobility solutions for employees
We monitor our atmospheric emissions for both flight and ground operations, including low altitude emissions which impact the quality of the air around airports. The indicators cover emissions of CO2, SO2 and NOx.
Air quality is measured at Amsterdam Schiphol, Paris Airports and in other airport areas.
- In France, the SURVOL Observatory (implemented and supported by the Airparif organization) monitors air quality in the airport surrounding areas of Ile-de-France. This monitoring has enabled evaluation of the impact of airport activities on air quality, builing a database of pollutant levels for future health studies, and keeping local residents informed.
- In the Netherlands, KLM monitors the diesel exhaust concentration every three years at Schiphol apron and cargo area. The latest monitoring took place in 2018, showing a slight decrease in the level of diesel exhaust concentration. This is the result of the increased investment in electric Ground Support Equipment (GSE), as these vehicles seem to have a bigger effect on the diesel exhaust concentration than the growing number of flights at Schiphol.
- In 2017 the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) started a study to the health impact of ultrafine particles of air transport on the neighbouring communities. In 2019 the first interim results were published describing short term impacts. The results on long-term health impacts of exposure to ultrafine particles are expected in 2021.
In order to reduce emissions in the immediate environment of aircraft handling areas, rather than using kerosene-powered Auxiliary Power Units (APUs), we use the following Ground Support Equipment (GSE):
- Fixed Electrical Power Units (FPUs) where possible, to power aircraft;
- Pre-Conditioned Air (PCA) units that maintain an acceptable temperature onboard the aircraft;
- Ground Power Units (GPUs), as well as an increasing number of aircraft towing trucks, equipped with automatic power-shutdown systems.
In 2019, we achieved the following results in our mission to reduce local impact and improve local air quality:
- Almost 50% and 58% respectively of the Ground Support Equipment (GSE) used at Paris-CDG and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is electric.
- Air France replaced the diesel engines on twelve conveyor belt vehicles with electric motors powered by a new type of lithium-ion batteries from recycled car batteries. This reduced CO2 emissions by 3 tonnes per year per conveyor belt. To develop this collaborative project, Air France has chosen to team up with CarWatt, a French startup that retrieves used lithium-ion batteries from individual electric vehicles and recycles them to give them a new life.
- At Air France, an increased budget for 2019 enabled investment in runway equipment meeting the new environmental standards in force and the development of electrical power. For ground vehicles, hybrid petrol and electric engines are prioritized when renewing the fleet. The company has set itself a target of 90% of its ramp vehicles and equipment to be electrically-powered by 2025.
- Air France is accelerating the use of electric power converters (ACUs) for the air conditioning of aircraft on the ground. This enables a reduction in emissions due to the use of thermal ACUs, APUs and GPUs.
- KLM increased the proportion of full-electric ground support equipment to 58% in 2019, thereby reducing CO2 and local emissions. In summer 2019, diesel was replaced with Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) in the fuel supply system at Schiphol Airport. This was initiated by KLM to ensure a substantial reduction in the related local emissions.
- Since 2011, CO2 emissions of KLM’s GSE have reduced by over 15% and NOx emissions by 45%. This has been achieved by introducing more efficient or electric GSE. KLM is working towards a zero emission GSE fleet, in line with the Group ambition of attaining an emission-free ground operation in 2030.
ECOMOBILITY SOLUTIONS FOR EMPLOYEES
To reduce local impact, Air France-KLM offer eco-mobility solutions to their employees whose commuting trips represent about 6% of scope 3 CO2 emissions.
The Air France mobility plans aim to increase employee awareness and to reduce pollutant emissions linked to home-work commuting by promoting public transport, making temporary offices available, encouraging remote working, and creating a car pooling website. Of the 37,000 employees based in the Paris area, 82% travel to work by car. This topic is important both in terms of environment, and in terms of health and safety at work.
In the Paris area, Air France works with the R’PRO’Mobilité association on implementing an inter-company mobility plan at Paris-CDG airport. In 2019, Air France also actively contributed to the creation of the Orly’Pro’Mobility association in favor of a new inter-company mobility plan at Paris-Orly airport. Air France has pooled its resources with those of large companies around the airports to promote responsible mobility. Other options, such as carpooling and the stimulation of environmental friendly transportation methods like cycling, are also being examined, while continuing to support the development of carpooling.
KLM promotes the use of public transport by providing free access to transport around Schiphol and KLM’s offices to its employees. In 2019, Schiphol introduced a successful pilot with shared bicycles at Schiphol-East complementary to the public transport. The shared FlickBikes are extensively being used by KLM employees.
In 2019, KLM made the ridesharing app Toogethr available to all employees in order to stimulate carpooling and to make commuting cheaper, more social and more sustainable. In addition, new charging points for electric vehicles were installed at certain KLM locations.
More generally, Air France takes part in current debates on the larger transport schemes which should see the light of day within the next few years. Air France is addressing the need for a well performing urban transportation system to Paris-CDG and Orly airports. More generally for French airports, ground transport is an essential complement for a top global air network, to benefit employees, service providers and customers.
Air France promotes teleconferencing when remote work is possible. This contributes to the improvement of the organization, quality of daily life at work, and the prevention of risks. Teleworking also has significant environmental benefits.
- In 2019, in France, 5,692 Air France employees were registered as remote workers at least one day a week, which represents a strong rise of nearly 103% compared to 2018.
- The fewer journeys to/from work meant that more than 8 million kilometers, or 201 times the Earth’s circumference per year were avoided, resulting in a CO2 saving of 1,932 tonnes.
Supporting the use of electric personal and company vehicles
- A fleet of ten 100% electric vehicles, personalized in Air France colors, is available to Air France and HOP! employees working in Montreuil for every work-related travel in the Paris region. In 2018, three new vehicles were made available to employees on the Paray-Vieille-Poste in Paris-Orly area, which made it possible to increase the number of employees who can use these vehicles for work-related trips.
- Parking spaces with electric charging points are available for staff in several parking areas in Paris-CDG. The number of charging points made available should increase in 2020.
- The startup Crewpop, which began as an employee initiative, received support from Air France, entering a trial phase at the end of 2017. As part of a carsharing initiative, it allows Air France employees to use electric cars for personal travel. The company continued its development in 2019.