The Sustainable Flight Challenge was initiated by a group of enthusiastic KLM employees, who were inspired by the famous London-Melbourne Air Race of 1934, which aimed to expand global access to the world and connect people with one another. Long-distance flights are no longer a challenge to the air transport industry, but sustainability presents a new frontier. That is why the “SkyTeam Sustainable Flight Challenge” was focused on an everyday, commercial scheduled service.

Aim of the initiative was to stimulate and encourage innovation by inviting the alliance’s member airlines to operate the most eco-responsible flights possible from 1 to 14 May 2022.

Air France and KLM both took part in the challenge, with two flights each, one medium-haul and the other long-haul.

Paris-Montreal, operated by an Airbus A350 on 3 May 2022
Paris-Lisbon, operated by an Airbus A220 on 4 May 2022

These latest generation aircraft, which are at the heart of Air France’s fleet renewal strategy, consume 20 to 25% less fuel than previous generation aircraft. Their noise footprint is reduced by a third.

The flight to Montreal was fuelled with 16% SAF and the flight to Lisbon with 30%.

Amsterdam-Porto, operated by an Embraer 190 on 7 May 2022
Amsterdam-Edmonton, operated by a Boeing 787-10 on 7 May 2022

These are the two most economical aircraft in their respective fleets, both powered by a fuel blend consisting of 39% SAF.

Air France and KLM pilots, on the ground and on board, have implemented eco-piloting techniques, such as taxiing on a single engine on the ground and optimising trajectories in real time, in coordination with air traffic control. Loading was fully optimised to ensure the best centre of gravity, improving aerodynamics and generating fuel savings.

Before the flight, a message was sent to customers to ask them to limit the volume and weight of their baggage. In order to limit food waste, they were encouraged to pre-select their meals so only the necessary products are loaded on board. In the lounges, more sustainable, local and seasonal products were offered and eco-responsible materials used.

Fully electric ground operations, with electric push-back of the aircraft, transport of crews by electric bus between their base and the aircraft parking stand and electric transport of cargo.

On board, use of more sustainable catering equipment (lighter, new generation meal trolley, recycled and recyclable trays, tableware made from celullose, FSC wooden cutlery and stirrers, paper cups, removal of individual plastic bottles). Selective sorting on board and more sustainable catering service.