16 April 2024

GreenAir News

Reporting on aviation and the environment

Lufthansa Group announces ‘Green Fares’, a new SAF agreement and sharkskin flights

Following a Scandinavian test run last year, the Lufthansa Group has launched its ‘Green Fares’ offering by all its six airlines on more than 730,000 flights per year within Europe and North African destinations Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Under its “more climate-friendly pledge”, the fares have already built in the extra cost of offsetting all flight-related CO2 emissions, with 20% of the contribution being used to purchase sustainable aviation fuel and the remainder in “high quality” climate protection offsets. The Green Fares can be booked “with just one click” via the airlines’ websites as well as the NDC platform in Economy and Business classes. The Group has also signed an MoU with VARO Energy on the production and supply SAF, deliveries of which could possibly start as early as from 2026. It also revealed more than 20 Boeing 777-300ER long-haul aircraft will be equipped with film modelled on the microscopic structure of shark skin that collectively will reduce the Group’s CO2 footprint by over 25,000 tonnes annually.

“People don’t just want to fly and discover the world – they also want to protect it at the same time,” commented Christina Foerster, responsible for brand and sustainability on Lufthansa Group’s Executive Board. “We already offer the most comprehensive portfolio for more sustainable travel and are now expanding this further with the Green Fares.”

The Green Fares offer, available on flights by Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, SWISS, Edelweiss, Eurowings Discover and Air Dolomiti, is also available to corporate customers, who will receive a CO2 mitigation certificate for the CO2 reduction achieved through the use of SAF.

A random midweek Lufthansa flight in March from Munich to London is quoted at €140 ($150) for a one-way Economy Classic ticket. The cost of the Economy Green fare for the same flight is €165, and has the added benefit of free rebooking, worth €35, and additional 20% status miles and 20% award miles. On the same flight, the Business Green fare in business class carries a €60 premium over Business Saver.

“The Green Fares were already successfully tested last year for flights from Denmark, Sweden and Norway. This showed that the demand for more sustainable travel offers is increasing,” said Harry Hohmeister, who has responsibility for global markets and network on the Lufthansa Group Executive Board. “We are pioneering the industry and living up to our ambition to develop innovative solutions for aviation of the future and we are making it even easier for our customers to book more sustainable offers.”

Under the MoU between Lufthansa and Swiss-based VARO Energy, which they say builds on their existing relationship, the two companies will explore SAF production and supply, and also jointly investigate the use of biogenic feedstock, such as sewage sludge, to produce green hydrogen that can potentially be used at a later stage for e-kerosene.

VARO says decarbonising the aviation industry is a core element of its strategy and is targeting production of more than 260,000 tonnes of SAF per year by 2026, with a long-term target of more than 500,000 tonnes per year.

“Our ONE VARO Transformation strategy is centred on meeting the needs of our customers to decarbonise as they progress in the energy transition while ensuring reliability of supply,” commented Dev Sanyal, CEO of VARO Energy. The company has a majority share in the Bayernoil refinery in southern Germany and a 51% stake in nature-based carbon dioxide removals company SilviCarbon.

The AeroSHARK bionic film developed by Lufthansa Technik and BASF is applied to the aircraft’s outer skin and after a testing and certification process lasting several months, EU safety agency EASA has granted Lufthansa Technik a Supplemental Type Certificate for the series application of the technology on two Boeing 777s. The first SWISS aircraft equipped with AeroSHARK has already been in scheduled service since October as part of the flight test certification programme. Over time, all 12 B777-300ER aircraft will fly with the fuel-saving surface technology, as well as Lufthansa Cargo’s fleet of 11 Boeing 777F freighters.

AeroSHARK consists of millions of ribs around 50 micrometres in size, known as riblets, that imitate the properties of sharkskin and thus optimise the aerodynamics at flow-relevant points, such as the fuselage or the engine nacelles. By covering 950 square metres of a 777-300ER’s outer skin, Lufthansa estimates annual savings of around 400 tonnes of jet fuel and more than 1,200 tonnes of CO2 can be achieved.

“Our ambitious goal is a neutral CO2 balance by 2050 and by 2030 we want to halve our net CO2 emissions compared to 2019,” said Foerster. “With the broad rollout of the AeroSHARK surface technology, we are once again underlining our innovation leadership. We are the first airline group worldwide to use this new technology.”

Photo: Lufthansa Technik

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