The Air France Group has recently announced that it commits to setting science-based greenhouse gas emission reduction targets with the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). The use of sustainable fuel and fleet modernization are two of the elements used to achieve the targets.
The Air France-KLM Group has signed a letter of commitment with the independent reference organization SBTi, founded by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the United Nations Global Compact and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). As Ildikó McPartlin-Kiss, Country Manager for Hungary and Balkans at Air France-KLM explains, this proactive approach aims to have the Group's and its companies' CO₂ emission reduction targets assessed based on a scientific approach and criteria. In particular, SBTi will ensure that the targets set are compatible with the Paris Agreement, which aim to limit global warming to well below 2°C.
The SBTi approach involves the Air France Group airlines – Air France, Transavia France and HOP! – which are implementing the Group's decarbonization trajectory. For Air France, this trajectory aims to achieve zero net emissions by 2050.
The Country Manager highlights that the Air France-KLM Group has been committed for several years to reducing its carbon footprint. The challenge today is to accelerate its environmental transition by activating all the levers at its disposal and by encouraging the emergence of innovative solutions.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel
One of these is the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), non-fossil fuels produced from industrial or domestic waste that do not compete with the human food chain. This October, Air France, TotalEnergies, the Metropole and the Airport of Nice Côte d’Azur joined forces to operate a flight fueled with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). Air France Flight 6235 took off for Orly Airport in Paris in the evening of October 1 from Nice Airport after being loaded with 30% SAF produced by TotalEnergies in its French plants.
The SAF-fueled flight took place during the Nice Transition Days, an international festival celebrating ecological innovations, hosted and organized by the Métropole of Nice-Côte d’Azur in partnership with the La Tribune newspaper and the Transition Forum association. The flight marked the end of the Transition Forum, an international economic conference held during the Nice Transition Days, whose purpose is to accelerate the transition to a lower-carbon future.
The biofuel used for this flight was produced from waste and residues generated by the circular economy. It was made by TotalEnergies from used cooking oils at its biorefinery of La (Bouches-du-Rhône) and its plant at Oudalle (Seine-Maritime). The French-produced SAF carries ISCC-EU certification (International Sustainability & Carbon Certification) awarded by an independent body, which guarantees its sustainability. The 30% incorporation on the Nice-Paris flight prevented the emission of three tons of CO₂.
An economically and environmentally efficient aircraft
Ildikó McPartlin-Kiss points out that that another element used to achieve the decarbonization goals is the Group’s fleet renewal, with the integration of the latest generation of environmentally more efficient aircraft like Airbus A220.
The most innovative and efficient single-aisle aircraft in its class, the Airbus A220-300 is perfectly suited to Air France's short and medium-haul network. It provides a 10% cost reduction per seat compared to the Airbus A318 and A319 and stands out for its energy efficiency, consuming 20% less fuel than the aircraft it replaces and its CO₂ emissions are also reduced by 20%. Its noise footprint is also 34% lower. These characteristics will play a decisive role in reducing Air France's environmental footprint and achieving its sustainable development objectives. By 2030, the airline will have reduced its overall CO₂ emissions per passenger/km by 50% compared to 2005, or 15% in absolute terms. Air France is also committed to working with all its stakeholders and the public authorities to achieve the climate target of zero net CO₂ emissions by 2050, she says.
The Air France Airbus A220-300 has 148 seats, offering 80% of customers a window or aisle seat in a 3-2 seat configuration. It has two travel cabins, Business and Economy, and access to Air France Connect, the airline's inflight Wi-Fi service.
The seat, the widest on the market (48 cm), reclines to 118 degrees and has an adjustable headrest, leather upholstery and an ergonomic seat cushion for enhanced comfort. A wide solid tray table, cup holder, a pouch for storing magazines and books, individual USB A and C ports and tablet or smartphone holder integrated into the backrest complete the package.
The cabin, the most spacious and brightest in its category, is decorated in the Air France signature colors – shades of blue, a strong presence of white providing light and contrast, and a hint of red symbolize the airline’s excellence and know-how. The carpet revisits the traditional ornamental herringbone pattern, symbolizing the emblematic Haussmann-inspired world of Parisian apartments.
Large panoramic windows provide natural light for the duration of the trip. From boarding to landing, specially-adapted cabin mood lighting settings create bright, dynamic lighting for the welcome and disembarkation phases and softer lighting for a more relaxed, serene atmosphere during the flight. The spacious baggage racks are easy to access. The central aisle is particularly wide, allowing customers to move about at ease.
Winter schedule with sustainable aircraft and safety measures
The winter season at Air France is marked by the entry into commercial service of the Airbus A220 as it began operating on October 31 to Berlin (Germany), Madrid, Barcelona (Spain), Milan and Venice (Italy), then later in the winter to Bologna, Rome (Italy), Lisbon (Portugal) and Copenhagen (Denmark).
‘Ready To Fly’ is a free and optional service allowing customers to request and receive confirmation that they have all the health documents required for their trip before going to the airport. This saves considerable time on the day of departure, while ensuring a smoother boarding process and avoiding multiple checks. ‘Ready To Fly’ is now available on over 130 routes from 65 airports on the Air France network.
Ildikó McPartlin-Kiss stresses that the health and well-being of Air France customers and staff are at the heart of the company's concerns. Air France is committed to providing its customers optimum health and hygiene conditions at each stage of their trip. On board the aircraft and throughout the duration of the trip, it is compulsory to wear a surgical mask. The air in the cabin is renewed every three minutes. The air recycling system on board Air France aircraft is equipped with HEPA filters, identical to those used in hospital operating rooms. Air France has also reinforced aircraft cleaning procedures, notably with the disinfection of all surfaces in contact with customers such as armrests, tray tables and screens before each flight.
Air France's health commitment was recently recognized by the international rating agency Skytrax, which awarded the airline its COVID Excellence Award at the Skytrax World Airline Awards 2021.
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