The aviation industry is still experiencing the effects of the pandemic; however, that isn't to say sustainability measures can be thrown out the window. In a first, Germany flag carrier Lufthansa has operated its first-ever 100% carbon neutral cargo flight on Sunday.
The joint venture was conducted by cargo transport and logistics firms DB Schenker and Lufthansa Cargo. The flight, which was performed by a Boeing 777F aircraft, traveled to Shanghai and back from the airline’s main Frankfurt center, Simple Flying reported.
An important move away from fossil fuels
While Lufthansa reportedly operates cargo flights to Shanghai frequently, LH8406's flight stood out from the rest since it was the first 100% carbon neutral cargo flight operated by the airline, per the official press release.
The plane, LH8406, departed from Frankfurt and flew non-stop to Shanghai. After some hours, the flights continued onto Seoul which arrived 17 minutes early, according to Flight Aware.
The flight was extremely important in the sense that it symbolizes aviation's move away from fossil fuels. In order to make sure this was met, the flight’s fuel requirements were solely met by Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs).
While SAFs still do produce CO2 when they are burnt, this is not as damaging to the environment since they are an active part of the carbon cycle.
In contrast, fossil fuels have been locked in the ground for hundreds of years. By using SAFs, the fossil CO2 emissions of a flight with conventional kerosene, which is a combustible hydrocarbon liquid that is derived from petroleum, are completely avoided, keeping SAFs' overall greenhouse gas emissions 65-95% lower than traditional fossil-kerosene fuels, according to International Air Transport Association.
The good news is that this wasn't a one-time thing. Lufthansa Cargo will frequently operate carbon-neutral flights such as this one from summer 2021.