Air France’s Airbus at CDG 2 (Photo: LC)

Air France is working to reduce its CO2 emissions

and has thus just launched a journey towards this goal called “Air France ACT”. It provides for :

  • reduce direct emissions generated by Air France operations as a priority,
  • reduce indirect emissions, upstream and downstream of the company’s activities,
  • contribute to projects that remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
  • “Air France ACT” embodies the transparent, realistic and science-based approach adopted by the company to ensure its environmental transition through concrete and measurable actions.

Air France recognizes that decarbonizing aviation will be difficult and time-consuming because it involves countless partners in the aviation chain.

30% reduction in CO2 emissions per passenger-km by 2030

The new decarbonization trajectory aims for a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions per passenger-km by 2030 compared to 2019. This target does not include so-called “offsetting” actions to focus only on concrete reduction actions. This 30% reduction corresponds to an effective reduction of 12% of total emissions between 2019 and 2030. By comparison, the reduction had reached 6% between 2005 and 2019.

This trajectory is based on the calculation methodology of the independent organization SBTi (Science-Based Target initiative), to which it was submitted. Founded by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the United Nations Global Compact and the World Wildlife Fund, SBTi has developed a target decarbonization trajectory for the aviation sector. The objective is to limit global warming to less than +2°C.

Zero net emissions by 2050

By 2050, Air France aims to have zero net emissions. In other words, a drastic reduction in emissions associated with projects that remove a volume of CO2 equivalent to the residual emissions from the atmosphere each year. The company is working to define a precise and verifiable decarbonization trajectory for 2050, based on a set of hypotheses – notably traffic trends. The exercise will be evolving, taking into account the scientific context of the moment.

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To achieve its objectives, Air France is activating all the decarbonization levers at its disposal.

– Renewing the fleet with new generation aircraft. The Airbus A220 and A350 are more fuel-efficient. They emit up to 25% less CO2, and their noise footprint is reduced by 33% on average. By 2030, these aircraft will represent 70% of the Air France fleet, compared with 7% today. This represents an investment of

lliard per year by 2025.

– The increased use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) generates an average 80% reduction in CO2 emissions over the fuel’s life cycle. Since 2022, Air France has been incorporating the equivalent of 1% Sustainable Aviation Fuels on its flights departing from France. By 2030, the company is aiming for at least 10% incorporation and 63% by 2050.

– The practice of eco-piloting. This means using a single engine during taxiing whenever possible, optimized flight paths thanks to artificial intelligence or continuous descent in collaboration with air traffic control. These initiatives allow an average reduction of 2 to 3% in CO2 emissions.

– The development of intermodality, in order to offer low-carbon transport alternatives for short-distance journeys. This involves strengthening the partnership between Air France and the SNCF.

– The introduction of more responsible catering. This is reflected in the selection of local and seasonal products. But also the pre-selection of dishes before the flight in the Business cabin on long-haul flights to fight against food waste. By the end of 2022, Air France will have eliminated 90% of single-use plastics compared to 2018, after replacing plastic cups, cutlery and other sticks with sustainable alternatives in 2019.

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Air France explains its commitments in a video campaign as well as a dedicated general public website, “ Air France ACT “.

Everything is speeding up, everything is changing very quickly”

Today, at Air France, do you tell your employees to take the train? The question, full of meaning as well as piquancy, is signed Carole Poillerat (Comsense), who officiated on April 13 as master of ceremonies at theEVP 2022 organized by American Express GBT. She was speaking to Vincent Etchebehere, who is none other than the Director of Sustainable Development and New Mobilities at Air France. And this less than five hours after the announcement of the ACT Air France plan. ” Yes, in part…”, Vincent Etchebehere concedes, before emphasizing the educational effort made by the carrier. ” Even before knowing the strategy and objectives for sustainable development at Air France, our employees want to know more about global issues and the mechanisms of climate change. (…) This is why we have been deploying the Climate Fresco

since the end of 2020, collective intelligence workshops based on IPCC data”.EVP 2022Vincent Etchebehere, Director of Sustainable Development and New Mobilities at Air France, on the occasion of the “Climate Fresco” event.

As for the outlook for progress, Vincent Etchebehere was keen to point out ” a few orders of magnitude, some elements of a reading grid “. ” In terms of decarbonization levers, eco-piloting represents a 2 to 3% annual reduction in emissions. Fleet renewal, with each new-generation aircraft representing 20 to 25% less CO2. And sustainable aviation fuels, SAF, and that’s why it’s a decisive lever in the decarbonization of air transport, represents 80% less CO2 emissions over the entire fuel life cycle

,” emphasizes the Director of Sustainable Development and New Mobilities.

While hydrogen-powered aircraft do not seem viable for this decade – ” more like 2035-2037,” says Vincent Etchebehere – SAF could quickly gain momentum. Everything is accelerating,” he says. Everything is changing very quickly, especially with the regulatory aspects. (…) The challenge for us, in the short term, is to have sufficient volumes to meet the demand of our corporate customers, because for them too it is very important. And in particular companies committed to SBTi (Science Based Targets), which can deduct SAF from their emission reduction trajectory. So we are seeing demand and volumes increase, and you can count on us to continue to push our friends in the energy industry to make it happen even faster.