A Single European Sky Would Cut easyJet’s Emissions By 15%

The Single European Sky has been an issue that has rumbled on for more than two decades. With…

A Single European Sky Would Cut easyJet’s Emissions By 15%

The Single European Sky has been an issue that has rumbled on for more than two decades. With climate change the most pressing challenge facing Europe’s airlines, progress on this issue could see the goal of net zero by 2050 rapidly accelerated. Conservative estimates suggest the airspace change could lead to a 10% reduction in CO2 emissions. For low-cost easyJet, this could be more like 15%.

The Single European Sky would save 15% of easyJet’s carbon emissions. Photo: Getty Images.

The importance of a Single European Sky

The transition towards net zero by 2050 could be rapidly accelerated through the implementation of one key piece of legislation. The Single European Sky would eliminate the invisible borders in the air above Europe, opening the airspace and removing the inefficiencies currently impacting every single flight that passes through this territory.

In doing so, European airlines would instantly see a significant impact on their carbon emissions. Speaking exclusively with Simple Flying, easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren noted the importance of a Single European Sky to easyJet alone. He said,

“We can get there, but it involves a number of things, including some things that sit outside our control. The introduction of the Single European Sky, as an example. We know that if that was introduced today, at easyJet, just on our network, we would see a reduction of carbon emissions of 15% … This is a political decision that can take place right now.”

easyJet Johan Lundgren
Lundgren highlights the savings possible if the SES is introduced. Photo: Getty Images

Lundgren’s comments were an echo of those of Willie Walsh at IATA’s Media Days event last month. The new Director General spoke vehemently about the lack of progress on this issue, saying,

“We see this quite frankly as a scandal … We need politicians to step up and address this issue. This is not a technology issue. This is a lack of political will to address it. It’s well documented on a conservative basis that CO2 from operations in Europe, aviation in Europe, could be reduced by 10%.”

Walsh noted that there is no technological impediment to pushing through this change. Indeed, airlines in Europe have already invested in the technology onboard to effectively operate in a Single European Sky.

Fragmented Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) mean when there is a problem at one, such as the French ATC strikes in 2018, flights are forced to take longer, less efficient routes. Photo: Airlines 4 Europe

The lack of progress on this issue, which has been kicked around for more than two decades, has received widespread criticism from airline bosses from all corners of the industry. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary commented at a recent Eurocontrol HardTalk session,

“It’s one of the great failures of the European Union that a Single European Sky has gone nowhere in 20 years. It’s just a talking shop.”

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Commitment from policymakers needed

While frustration remains over the lack of progress on the Single European Sky, there is much to be proud of in terms of aviation’s commitment to a sustainable future. As chair of Airlines 4 Europe (A4E), Lungren has been heavily involved in the development of the ‘Destination 2050’ plan. This outlines the steps required for aviation to meet its 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement. Lungren said,

“Destination 2050 is something we all should be immensely proud of. This is the first time that a group of airlines in any continent on this planet has actually come together to commit itself to net zero by 2050. And this is not a document that was just made by the airlines. This is academic research.”

Destination 2050 has outlined a pathway to net zero in European aviation. Photo: Airlines 4 Europe

Destination 2050 has provided a framework that really outlines how the aviation industry can get from where it is now to where it needs to be. Now, the stakeholders need to affix a timeline to that framework to commit to making the right changes at the right time. For that, they need not only a commitment from the industry, but also from the policymakers and decision-makers that influence the industry.

Nevertheless, Lundgren remains positive that the goal will be reached. He said,

“It won’t happen unless the support and engagement is there from everyone in this industry, and also the people who affect this industry. But I am optimistic because I think everybody has set themselves up to say that this is something that we will manage and we will get through. And when we do that, we know we can make it work.”

Of the short and medium-term actions, the actions that reap the biggest benefits are in the hands of policymakers. Photo: Airlines 4 Europe

The airline industry has taken the first step to creating a roadmap towards a lower carbon future. But to achieve the goals outlined in that roadmap, it needs political support too. Taxation is the stick that is used to beat airlines towards carbon compliance, but unless the income from this is used to subsidize new technologies and infrastructure, it is a stick with no purpose.

What the industry needs now is fewer sticks and more carrots. Every airline under the A4E umbrella has committed to a more sustainable future already – no more beatings are required. Now, politicians need to put their money where their mouth is and start incentivizing R&D, subsidizing businesses that are investing in the right decisions, and making this behemoth of a transition as seamless as possible.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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75 Years Strong: KLM Celebrates 75 Years Of Serving Glasgow

While the pandemic may have caused a brief pause in operations, there is still cause for celebrations as…

75 Years Strong: KLM Celebrates 75 Years Of Serving Glasgow

While the pandemic may have caused a brief pause in operations, there is still cause for celebrations as KLM closes three-quarters of a century of serving Glasgow. On Thursday, July 29th, it was exactly 75 years to the day since the Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij operated a chartered Scottish Airlines DC-3 from Glasgow to Amsterdam for the first time.

Today, KLM operates both Embraer jets and Boeing 737s on the route. Photo: KLM

Twice weekly flights GLA to AMS

The first flight carried a number of different Scottish national products as well as gifts for the mayor of Amsterdam. What’s more, it was full of passengers. The new route garnered so much attention that it was fully booked for weeks, even before it commenced. This prompted the airline to expand the schedules to twice a week – on Mondays and Fridays.

“We are delighted to today be commemorating 75 years of KLM operating out of Glasgow, showcasing our historic and ongoing commitment to our Scottish customers. In the 75 years since we began flying from the airport, the world has changed dramatically and despite the challenges faced over the past year and half, KLM has been able to maintain our operations from Glasgow,” Bénédicte Duval, General Manager of Air France-KLM UK & Ireland, commented on the anniversary.

KLM Dc-3
However, it all began with a chartered DC-3. Photo: Getty Images

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Airline, airport, and community

As the situation currently stands, KLM is operating up to 18 weekly flights from Glasgow International Airport (GLA) to Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS). Services are operated alternately with KLM Cityhopper Embraer E190 regional jets and the airline’s Boeing 737s.

While Amsterdam is a destination for Glaswegians in its own right, much of the traffic is transfer onwards to other European and global destinations in KLM’s network. Other major carriers out of Glasgow are easyJet, Loganair, Jet2, and British Airways with flights to London City and Heathrow. Ronald Leitch, Operations Director at Glasgow Airport, said in a statement,

“The success of any route is a three-way relationship between airline, airport and community. Without the commitment of all three there is no way to sustain a long term service successfully. Since the inaugural flight, KLM has helped connect Scotland to many European and International destinations and the legacy continues to this day.”

KLM 737s Amsterdam
KLM suspended all flights to the UK in January 2021. Photo: Jake Hardiman – Simple Flying

Pandemic pause

While KLM has (mostly) continued to serve Glasgow throughout the pandemic, it has been a rocky road. The airline, whose livery is usually a common sight over the UK skies with 17 destinations in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, canceled services to Cardiff, Southampton, Teesside, and Inverness in November last year.

In January 2021, following the third national lockdown in the UK, KLM decided to suspend all services to the country for a week. We hope this will have been the worst we have seen of this or any future crisis between now and an upcoming centenary.

What is the oldest scheduled route at your closest airport? Have you ever flown with KLM to or from Glasgow? Was Amsterdam your final stop, or did you continue onwards? Leave a comment below and tell us about your experience. 

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