News - September 7, 2020

Air France and Solar Impulse Efficient Solutions collaborate for carbon-neutral ground operations at airports

Written by Tristan Lebleu 4 min read

The French airline announced a new step in the electrification of its ramp equipment, using some labelled solutions from the Solar Impulse Foundation.

On September 3rd at Roissy-Charles De Gaulle airport, an A350-900 was loaded with baggage and pushed back to the runway before taking off. From the outside, nothing remarkable on this flight to New Delhi, India. But in fact, this flight could be an important step for the future of sustainable aviation.

The major French airline tested the ramp handling of a flight using all-electric engines. The equipment used is developed by CARWATT, a French startup, and TLD, the world leader in the construction of ramp equipment. Some of these solutions are labelled by the Solar Impulse Foundation for their positive economic and environmental impact.

When handling the Paris to Delhi flight, Air France used the following equipment:

  • for the aircraft’s air supply: a Lebrun TLD air conditioner

  • for the transfer of baggage from the terminal to the aircraft, a Charlatte tractor

  • for baggage loading: a CARWATT conveyor belt

  • for cargo loading, a TLD wide-body TLD loader

  • Finally, the aircraft was pushed back from its parking stand by a TLD wide-body tug.

This is one of the first major collaborations between labelled solutions and a partner of the Solar Impulse Foundation. The aim of the Foundation, while it is fast approaching its goal of selecting 1000 solutions, is to encourage the implementation of these clean technologies to support our Partners in their sustainability goals.

Air France has launched an ambitious sustainable development policy, with the goal of halving its CO2 emissions per passenger km by 2030. To achieve this, the airline is doing all it can to reduce its carbon footprint at every stage of its value chain, both on the ground and on board.

This successful test on electric ramp equipment will soon be deployed on a much larger scale, as 60% of the fleet of ramp equipment used by Air France at airports where the airline operates its own equipment (Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly and Air France stations in mainland France) will be electric by the end of 2020. This rate will then be increased to 90% in 2025. By 2030, the company aims to make its ground operations carbon neutral. By doing so, it could save up to 10,000 tons of CO2 emissions every year.

Besides, Air France is investing in latest-generation aircrafts which consume less fuel, lighter materials on board, noise reduction, and single use plastic reduction on board its flights. On the latter, Air France and the Solar Impulse Foundation have launched an “Innovation Challenge” to find alternatives to plastic to replace its current plastic wine/champagne glasses with new and stylish single-use glasses made from bio-based/compostable materials.

 More about the Innovation Challenge here

Written by Tristan Lebleu on September 7, 2020

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