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Sustainability News – June 2021 in Conjunction with World Environment Day

[Sustainability/ Environmental News]

Singapore Airlines Group Commits to Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050

The Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group announced on 24 May 2021 its commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, reinforcing its long-standing strategy of working towards decarbonisation and environmental sustainability across its operations.

The Group’s airlines, Singapore Airlines, Scoot and SIA Cargo, will use multiple levers to achieve this goal. These include investing in new-generation aircraft, achieving higher operational efficiency, adopting low-carbon technology such as sustainable aviation fuels, and sourcing for high quality carbon offsets.

SIA Group has pursued multiple projects in support of its sustainability goals even amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, the Group completed the installation of solar panels on all of its office buildings in Singapore. This generates renewable energy that provides up to 18 per cent of its electricity demand, or enough to power around 2,300 four-room apartments in Singapore for a year.

In 2020, SIA rolled out a new regional Economy Class meal concept that offers increased food choices for customers. It features tableware comprising sustainable paper packaging and bamboo cutlery, reducing the amount of single-use plastics in the cabin. This packaging weighs 50 per cent less, helping to lower fuel consumption. Everything from the tableware to the food waste will be sent to an eco-digestor to be converted to refuse-derived energy pellets that can replace fossil fuels and coal.

Mr Goh Choon Phong, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Airlines, said: “We have remained focused on our sustainability goals even as we navigated the Covid-19 pandemic. We know that this is also an increasingly important issue to both our customers and staff. With today’s pledge to achieve net-zero emissions, we buttress the SIA Group’s leadership position on this topic and reinforce our commitment to finding ways to tackle our impact on the environment.

“Today, the most effective and direct way for an airline to materially lower carbon emissions is by operating a young fleet of aircraft. The SIA Group’s fleet has an average age of under six years, making it one of the youngest in the world. Over the last year, we have retired 45 older aircraft. We will be gradually replacing them with new-generation aircraft that are up to 30 per cent more fuel efficient, and will substantially lower our emissions in coming years.

 “However, we can’t achieve our goals on our own. We will continue to collaborate with governments, the airline industry, and partners such as aircraft manufacturers, technology providers, and fuel suppliers, both in Singapore and around the world. We must work together to push the envelope, and find innovative solutions that help us meet our targets on this journey.”

The SIA Group’s aircraft fleet has an average age of five years 10 months, and it continues to invest in the latest technology. The Group’s order book comprises new-generation models such as Airbus’ A350-900 and A320neo Family and Boeing’s 777-9, 787 Family and 737-8 Max. These aircraft are up to 30 per cent more fuel-efficient and have reduced carbon emissions compared to older models.

There is also a relentless focus on increasing fuel efficiency through improvements in operational procedures. For example, the SIA Group has invested in engineering improvement packages for airframes and engines which help to reduce drag and improve engine efficiency. The Group’s airlines continuously aim to improve fuel productivity through initiatives such as reducing fuel usage through aircraft weight management, and optimisation of flight routes. Innovations in technology and data analytics will also pave the way for more significant improvements, and the Group will continue to engage research institutions to explore such ideas.

Singapore Airlines has been an active member of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG) since 2011. In 2017, SIA launched a series of green package flights from San Francisco to Singapore that incorporated sustainable aviation fuels, fuel-efficient aircraft and optimised air traffic management measures. In 2020, SIA worked with Stockholm’s Swedavia Airport to uplift sustainable aviation fuels on flights departing from the city. These activities have helped to improve the Group’s understanding of the logistics and procurement of renewable fuels. SIA is actively working with partners and stakeholders to explore opportunities to scale up the adoption of sustainable aviation fuels across our network.

Beyond reducing direct emissions, carbon offsetting can play an important and complementary role. The SIA Group is a participant in the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), which seeks to cap the industry’s growth in carbon emissions from 2020. While offsetting is particularly important in the mid-term, it is also expected to remain relevant in the long run to mitigate residual emissions. In order to secure high quality carbon offsets, the Group will continue exploring pathways through partnership that will allow us to source high quality carbon offsets.

As the SIA Group embarks on this journey towards net zero emissions by 2050, it will continue to collaborate with like-minded partners to develop a robust sustainable aviation fuel supply chain and carbon market. This includes working together with stakeholders in Singapore to develop a holistic decarbonisation plan, which complements Singapore’s goal of strengthening the country’s air hub and maintaining its competitive advantage into the future.

Photo credits: Singapore Airlines

Qatar Airways Group Highlights Environmental Sustainability initiatives for World Environment Day

To mark World Environment Day, Qatar Airways Group is reinforcing its commitment to protect the planet by highlighting its key environmental sustainability initiatives. Qatar Airways Group is dedicated to environmental leadership across all of its entities, including airline, airport operations, aviation and catering services, retail outlets and hotels.

Qatar Airways is the first airline in the Middle East to secure accreditation to the highest level in the IATA Environmental Assessment Programme (IEnvA) while its hub, Hamad International Airport, will be the first airport in the region to achieve a 4-star Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) rating as part of plans to expand its capacity to more than 53 million passengers annually by 2022. The terminal will also be a LEED Silver certified building, featuring a number of innovative energy efficiency measures.

In addition, Qatar Airways has committed as a oneworld member airline, to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, becoming part of the first global alliance to unite behind a common target to achieve carbon neutrality. Its most advanced aircraft technology and fuel-optimisation initiatives are part of a comprehensive strategy to address its CO2 emissions, and it continues to remain compliant with the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), and the ICAO’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).

“It is our ambition as an airline to minimise our impact on the environment, and facilitate continued global travel and commerce while limiting carbon emissions. As we work in collaboration with the aviation industry to reconnect the world, we recognise sustainability as a strategy to build resilience post COVID-19. We must act boldly and decisively to make necessary changes, acknowledging that it is innovation which will drive the industry forward for a sustainable future.”

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker

In February 2020, at the CAPA Qatar Aviation, Aeropolitical & Regulatory Summit, the ‘Doha Declaration’ highlighted the growing need for sustainable operations and engaging stakeholders to act collectively to address climate change and promote sustainability in the aviation industry.

The declaration states that it is essential for the travel and tourism industry to engage collectively to reduce emissions and secure environmental sustainability for future generations. In line with this, Qatar Airways has a range of ongoing and recent initiatives that promote sustainability.

Modern, fuel-efficient fleet of aircraft: Qatar Airways operates one of the youngest fleets in the sky. The airline’s mix of modern fuel-efficient aircraft helped it to develop a sustainable and adapted solution, allowing it to continue flying routes with less overall demand as it has a variety of aircraft it can select from, to offer the right capacity in each market. Due to COVID-19’s impact on travel demand, the airline has taken the decision to ground its fleet of Airbus A380s as it is not commercially or environmentally justifiable to operate such a large aircraft in the current market. Qatar Airways’ fleet of 53 Airbus A350 and 37 Boeing 787 are the ideal mix for the most strategically important long-haul routes to Africa, the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions.

Aircraft Fuel & CO2 Emission Reduction Initiatives: Qatar Airways continually strives to improve fuel efficiency through its fuel optimisation program. From managing the weight of fittings and other items on our aircraft, to optimising flight paths to ensure the minimum distance is travelled wherever possible. Other initiatives also include reduction of potable water uplift, removal of inflight duty free offerings and footrests, as well as digitization of inflight magazines and menu, all resulting to the reduction weight on board the aircraft.

Voluntary Carbon Offset Programme for Passengers: Passengers now have the opportunity to voluntarily offset the carbon emissions associated with their journey at the point of booking.Qatar Airways is a proud member of the IATA carbon offset programme, contributing to the Fatanpur Wind Farm project, which invests in developing India’s renewable energy capacity. The project currently supports 54 turbines across two districts in Madhya Pradesh: Dewas and Ujjain. With a combined power rating of over 108 Mega Watts, these turbines displace over 210,000 tonnes of carbon emissions from the Indian Electricity Grid each year. To put this into perspective, one tonne of CO2 is the average emission of one passenger on a return-flight from Paris to New York. It is also the amount of CO2 produced by driving 6,000 km with a diesel car.

Reducing waste and applying the principles of a circular economy across our businesses: In 2019, Qatar Airways launched its Quisine on-board dining experience, with an increased focus on reducing single-use plastics. This includes removing the plastic that was used to wrap cutlery and replacing plastic spoons that compliment all hot beverages with wooden stirrers. With the introduction of Quisine, there has been an 80 per cent increase in recyclable and biodegradable products being used, and 80 per cent of the tray items comply with the ban on single-use plastics.

Food waste reduction: Qatar Aircraft Catering Company has been working on recovery of unconsumed whole and safe food items for charity. The airline actively reduces food waste by donating up to 300kg of surplus food daily from its on-board dining facilities.  It is also proactively looking for opportunities to optimise food that is carried on each aircraft to minimise waste and reduce emissions from additional weight carried on the aircraft.

Water conservation and optimisation: Qatar Airways was the first airline in the world to use General Electric’s (GE) ‘360 Foam Wash’ technology on its aircraft, replacing traditional water wash methods on GE engines. In addition, recycled wastewater is used in irrigation for Hamad International Airport’s landscaping features and condensate water from the building air conditioners is used in commercial offices for cleaning activities, replacing potable water use.

Supporting the Wildlife: As an inaugural signatory to the Buckingham Palace Declaration in March 2016 and a founding member of the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce, Qatar Airways has a zero tolerance policy towards the transportation of illegal wildlife and their products. Qatar Airways Cargo in 2020 launched a new chapter of its sustainability programme WeQare: Rewild the Planet, focused on transporting endangered animals back to their natural habitat, free of charge. In May 2021, Qatar Airways Cargo has helped rehome seven rescued lions from Ukraine to South Africa. The cargo carrier’s initiative to preserve wildlife is consistent with the airline’s commitment to fight wildlife trafficking and illegal trade of wild animals.

To make a booking, head over to qatarairways.com

Photo credits: Qatar Airways

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