Lyon’s demonstration day for greener operations

Bernie Baldwin

Bringing the sustainable solutions of tomorrow together points the way to net-zero 2025.

At the end of June, five European flights operating into Lyon Airport each used technologies, fuels and air navigation procedures to minimise their carbon emissions, as a demonstration of ways to reduce aviation’s environmental impact. The demonstration – with flights from Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bucharest, Frankfurt and Lisbon – coincided with the European Commission’s ‘Connecting Europe Days’ event. The airlines involved were easyJet, Lufthansa, Air France, KLM and Vueling.

The measures used by these flights ranged from environmentally-optimised routings, sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) as well as carbon neutral airport operations and infrastructure.

The optimised routings took advantage of airspace normally reserved for the military. Also, improved vertical and lateral profiles made more direct routings possible and aided the descents by the various flights into Lyon Airport. As a result, the five flights each had a more optimal trajectory for minimising fuel burn and thus reducing emissions. Collaboration between Eurocontrol and the respective military authorities played a key role in this.

With SAFs, the airlines used 30% SAF on each of the flights involved, which led to a CO2 emissions reduction of 27% per flight compared with conventional fuel. Such reductions are what SAF can offer, but they key is get enough at the right price.

For carbon neutrality in airport operations and infrastructure, Lyon Airport used energy-efficient solutions for aircraft. The airport is aiming to become the first commercial airport in France to reach net zero CO2 emissions, which it hopes to achieve by 2026. Moreover, the airport is a pilot participant for Vinci Airports’ plan for hydrogen use at airports as early as 2023. This programme is being operated in conjunction with Airbus and Air Liquide.

This co-ordinated action was designed to show what can be achieved through the application of measures, as set out in the Destination 2050 Roadmap initiative set up by the five leading European aviation associations to help aviation reach the EU’s climate goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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5-7 Jun 2024