BERLIN, 19 November 2019: Passengers flying Lufthansa and Swiss International Air Lines can compensate for their carbon footprint by buying sustainable aviation fuel when they book flights.
It helps bring the cost of more environmentally friendly fuel within reach, but criticism is growing that the airlines should be shouldering the expense themselves rather than using a market tool such appealing to travel to join the scheme to offset their carbon footprint.
The Lufthansa group, which includes Swissair said that under the programme, named Compensaid, customers could pay a surcharge based on the price difference between the green fuel and kerosene.
A trial programme is now running that allows passengers to sign up to the scheme when booking flights.
A Reuter report noted that a 462 km flight from Hamburg to Frankfurt on an A321, for example, a passenger would need 42 euros (EUR46.20) of sustainable fuel instead of EUR14 for fossil fuels.
The passenger could then pay EUR28 to offset their flight with green fuel, and Lufthansa would pay the remaining EUR14.
Lufthansa will then feed the fuel, which is roughly four times more expensive than jet fuel, to planes at its Frankfurt hub within six months. Compensaid’s website shows how much money has been raised.
The airline group has pledged to invest billions in sustainable aviation fuels, which are made from biowaste like used cooking oil and offer an up to 80% reduction in emissions compared to fossil fuels, as European flyers grow more concerned about the impact of air travel and environmentalists advocate for carbon taxes.
Emissions from aviation, the most carbon-intensive form of transport, have doubled in the last 20 years and are responsible for an estimated 4.9% of man-made global warming, according to Transport & Environment, a research and advocacy group.
Airlines are using the offset programme to counter the Flight Shame movement thas seen more travellers switching to trave travel in Europe.
On the other hand, “it’s not clear why a flyer would pay a large premium for clean fuels when Lufthansa is also offering cheap offsets for one-twentieth the cost,” the International Council on Clean Transportation aviation director Dan Rutherford told Reuters.
“Airlines will need to stop marketing offsets and start paying more for fuel themselves before sustainable aviation fuels will really take off,” he said.