Lufthansa Cargo, DB Schenker make history with first CO2-neutral freight flights


Yesterday, a cargo flight took off for the first time in commercial aviation, whose fuel requirements was completely covered by Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

Lufthansa Cargo’s Boeing 777F took off from Frankfurt to Shanghai and then returned to the Hessian metropolis as part of a project aimed at moving away from fossil fuels in air freight transport.

Made possible by logistics service provider DB Schenker and air freight company Lufthansa Cargo, this first CO2-neutral freight flight transported goods from Siemens Healthineers AG, among others.

Peter Gerber, CEO of Lufthansa Cargo, said the historic flight demonstrated the two companies’ commitment to sustainable air transport.

“With this flight we are committed to the increased research and use of SAF so that sufficient quantities of the alternative fuel will be available in the future,” Mr Gerber said.

“In addition to investments in a modern freighter fleet, our commitment to this CO2-neutral flight also contributes to the United Nations’ ‘Climate Action’ sustainability goal.

“Because Lufthansa Cargo takes its corporate responsibility very seriously and is actively taking measures to meet this responsibility and relieve the environment.”

SAF – also known as synthetic kerosene – is currently produced mainly from biomass, such as from sustainable or recyclable vegetable and cooking oils.

Non-plant-based renewable fuels will also be available in the future, with the so-called power-to-liquid concept (PtL) based on renewable electricity, water and CO2 regarded as the best-known production process for this.

The use of SAF completely eliminates fossil CO2 emissions released by conventional kerosene, as only CO2 is released during combustion in the engine. This makes SAF the first real alternative to fossil aviation fuel and the key to climate-friendly, CO2-neutral air traffic.

Moreover, the two companies are also using a reforestation project to compensate for the CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases that result from the production of the biomass, processing and transport of the SAF to ensure that the flights are completely greenhouse gas neutral overall.

Jochen Thewes, CEO of DB Schenker, said the company is ‘already further ahead than many think’ when it comes to climate protection in air freight.

“With the start of the 2021 summer flight schedule, DB Schenker will offer greenhouse gas-neutral air freight as a regular product,” Mr Thewes, continued.

“As a logistics provider, DB Schenker is the link between the loading industry and the airlines in order to actually implement climate protection in air freight.

“I am convinced that there is a great demand for this type of green transport and I am looking forward to seeing who will follow suit.”

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