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ESSEN/FRANKFURT: DB Schenker and Lufthansa Cargo have launched the first weekly carbon neutral airfreight service between Frankfurt and Shanghai Pudong.

Because aircraft are not yet certified to fly with 100 percent SAF, the 174 tonnes of JetA kerosene used on the roundtrip is replaced entirely with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) used throughout the airline’s network.

As a result, Lufthansa Cargo expects to “neutralize” 20,250 tonnes of carbon during its summer flight schedule including 16,200 tonnes not burned in flight. Shipper customers including Mercedes-Benz, ZF and Merck will also use the flights as credit to reducing their carbon footprint.

SAF is produced mainly from biomass waste including vegetable and cooking oils. Thus, when burned in an aircraft engine, the same amount of CO2 is released that was previously removed from the atmosphere during the original growth of the plants. Hence the term: “carbon neutral”.

And any greenhouse gas (GHG) produced during the manufacture and transport of the fuel to the aircraft is fully offset by sustainable compensation projects.

"With the world's first sustainable cargo flight with DB Schenker at the end of 2020, we demonstrated that flying without fossil emissions is already possible,” commented Lufthansa Cargo CEO Dorothea von Boxberg. “Today, we jointly launched the world's first regular sustainable cargo flight connection. This paves the way for many more connections of this kind. We are counting on the determination of our industry and the dedication of consumers to get this off the ground together."

Jochen Thewes, CEO of DB Schenker added: “We are proud to have already convinced so many customers of this future-orientated product. Next, business and politics have to take charge to create more capacity for regenerative fuels and clean aviation."

The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) has begun addressing the cost and availability of SAF. Next month it will hold a webinar to address the issues of net-zero aviation and the development of climate-neutral ground infrastructure.
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