Climate protection

A four-pillar strategy defines climate protection measures

Progress in climate protection in the aviation sector can only be made through cooperation and by combining various skill sets of different players, such as manufacturers, airports, air traffic control, airlines and policymakers. As early as 2007, IATA divided its emission-reduction activities into four fields of action in its four-pillar climate protection strategy for the airline industry.

This strategy and these four action areas also form the basis for the Lufthansa Group’s conceptual approach and activities to improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions from aircraft operations.


The Lufthansa Group invests continuously in modern, fuel-efficient aircraft and engine technologies, which represent the most important element in reducing carbon emissions from flight operations.

Measures to technically modify the existing fleet are also examined on an ongoing basis and implemented in cooperation with partners from research and industry.

In the past decade, the Lufthansa Group has paid close attention to research into SAF (i.e. synthetic kerosene produced from renewable energy sources) and its testing and use. Since this time, the Lufthansa Group has worked in partnerships to drive key technologies for SAF production. Through letters of intent the Lufthansa Group secures access to required SAF volumes.


The fundamental modernisation and harmonisation of technologies, processes and standards are necessary to realise the potential for greater efficiency in the use of the European airspace. Irrespective of the form in which the European Commission’s legislative proposal on the “development of the European airspace” (Single European Sky, SES2+) is adopted, the Lufthansa Group supports the harmonisation of the EU airspace. The Lufthansa Group and other European airlines, such as those in the Airlines for Europe (A4E)association, have the necessary expertise in this area and have been actively promoting the creation of an efficient EU airspace for many years through their participation in committees and projects.

Furthermore, the Lufthansa Group seeks to persuade as many passengers who travel via its hubs as possible to use intermodal modes of feeder transportation to open up additional potential for reducing the number of particularly short flights. By offering expanded intermodal services, arriving and departing by long-distance train or bus should become just as natural as using connecting flights.


The Lufthansa Group’s operational measures for climate protection comprise the efficient use of aircraft and the optimisation of load factors, as well as reviewing and introducing new flight procedures and navigation technologies, determining optimal routes and speeds, and developing various fuel-saving measures within the scope of flight planning and flight operations.


Economic measures for climate protection, such as the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), the mandatory Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) voluntary compensation of CO₂ are vitally important as long as carbon emissions cannot be sufficiently reduced, such as through the availability of sustainable aviation fuel and propulsion technologies in sufficient quantities. In addition to voluntary offsets by the Company, the Lufthansa Group is therefore continuously expanding the possibilities for customers to offset carbon emissions.

The Lufthansa Group supports climate protection through broader commitment

More targeted political support and financial support mechanisms are needed to develop technologies and accelerate the market introduction of sustainable aviation fuels if the targets set as part of the Lufthansa Group’s climate protection commitment are to be attained in a sector that is difficult to decarbonise. This is why the Lufthansa Group is involved in a wide range of private and government-funded research and development initiatives. Working with the scientific community, it has also supported atmospheric research to contribute to a better understanding of the global climate. In addition, the Lufthansa Group is committed to implementing carbon-neutral ground processes in its home markets by 2030.

The Lufthansa Group calculates its carbon footprint each year

The carbon footprint of the Lufthansa Group represents the total of all carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions generated by its operations as defined by the internationally recognised Greenhouse Gas Protocol standards – including material emissions from the supply chain. To establish the greatest possible level of transparency and credibility for all stakeholders, the Lufthansa Group’s carbon footprint is verified annually by an independent external audit organisation and detailed information is provided, including by means of the Group’s participation in the recognised CDP rating scheme.

Organisational foundations and responsibilities

The Corporate Responsibility department is responsible for defining climate protection goals and breaks these down to the level of the individual companies, in consultation with the corporate functions. On this basis, the companies draw up appropriate measures in coordination with the corporate functions. Two emission management committees established in the previous year were merged in the reporting year under the management of the Corporate Responsibility department, since the previous distinction between mandatory and voluntary reporting had not proven effective. This means that, together with the consolidation of the emission forecast models, these topics are now jointly coordinated. Current developments in national and supranational emissions legislation are regularly discussed in this context, and their relevance for the Lufthansa Group is assessed and their impacts calculated.

In addition, two further committees address the ongoing development and significance of SAF as a topic for the Lufthansa Group. The core SAF committee (consisting of the Corporate Responsibility, Corporate Controlling, Sales and Fuel Purchasing departments) defines procurement opportunities and strategic priorities. The broader SAF committee which includes representatives from the business units, fosters sales progress, tracks emission balances and develops offerings that are adapted to the different customer segments.

In 2022, the Corporate Responsibility department established an additional committee, the SAF Circle, to investigate and address the climate impacts of aviation that go beyond CO2. This committee comprises representatives from Flight Operations, Lufthansa Systems and Corporate Responsibility and meets on a regular basis to discuss political, technical, regulatory and scientific developments.

The Lufthansa Group supports the climate protection targets of the aviation sector

The Lufthansa Group supports IATA’s emission reduction targets aimed at reducing net carbon emissions to zero by 2050 (net zero target).

All the airlines of the Lufthansa Group are members of the Aviation Alliance Fit for 55, an alliance of European airlines and airports founded in 2022. The partners in the alliance have committed to the goal of carbon-neutral aviation by 2050 and have proposed competition-neutral solutions at the European level to achieve this.

In addition, the Lufthansa Group has joined the First Movers Coalition of the World Economic Forum. This initiative aims to use at least 5% SAF in 2030, with an emissions advantage of at least 85% compared to fossil fuel. These two aspects already represent a level of ambition which transcends the statutory obligations, since this 5% refers to the total fuel requirements of the Lufthansa Group (not just fuel taken on board in Europe) and the emissions advantage of SAF required in the EU is just 65%.

The Lufthansa Group also defines its own expanded emission reduction targets

As befits its pioneering role in climate protection, the Lufthansa Group has defined its own carbon reduction targets which demonstrate an extra level of ambition. The Lufthansa Group’s carbon emissions reduction target was successfully validated by the SBTi in the summer of 2022. The SBTi, a joint initiative of CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), develops sector-specific criteria for climate protection, applies these criteria to participating companies and validates the corresponding corporate targets. With its SBTi validation, the Lufthansa Group became the first airline group in Europe with a scientifically profound CO₂ reduction target in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement of 2015. Lufthansa Group is among the first three airlines worldwide to have their reduction targets validated by the SBTi.

Specifically and in accordance with the SBTi guidance, the Lufthansa Group has committed to reducing its carbon intensity, i.e. its carbon emissions per transported tonne-kilometre (passenger and cargo), by 30.6% in the period from 2019 to 2030. This target may only be achieved by reducing fuel consumption or by substituting fossil fuel with SAF.

Over and above the reduction required by the SBTi targets, the Group aims to achieve its self-imposed target of cutting net carbon emissions in half by 2030 compared to 2019 by means of voluntary offsets. The Lufthansa Group aims to be carbon-neutral in 2050.

Emission reduction targets are part of Executive Board remuneration

Emission reduction targets are an element of long-term variable remuneration for the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. Within the scope of the long-term variable remuneration (MVV) of the Executive Board, the Supervisory Board regularly defines an environmental target as focus of the strategic and sustainability targets. The reduction of specific carbon emissions was defined for the long-term variable remuneration for the 2023 financial year (”long-term incentive” / LTI 2023). This was derived from the current corporate strategy, according to which the reduction targets are based on the indicator CO₂ per tonne-kilometre transported, in line with the target system for the validated SBTi targets. This environmental target has a weighting of 20% in the assessment of the level of target achievement for the LTI 2023. 
↗ Remuneration report



Continuous fleet renewal

Even though many projects are still far from being ready for large-scale production, there has been a lot of momentum in the aviation sector several years now driving research into new, sustainable technologies and their development. Established manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing and many young companies are seeking to bring new ideas and concepts to the aviation market. Alternative fuels, new propulsion systems based on hydrogen and electricity, and corresponding new aircraft designs all play a role in these developments. The Lufthansa Group is monitoring these closely and is analysing them on an ongoing basis with respect to their future viability and relevance. In this context, a letter of intent has been signed with Lilium to investigate the possibility of a strategic partnership for the use of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) in Europe.

Fleet renewal remains the key driver for reducing CO₂ emissions in the short and medium term. The Lufthansa Group fleet was expanded by 29 new aircraft in 2023, including Airbus A320neos, A321neos, A350-900s and Boeing 787-9s, which are powered by modern engines. The A320neo is one of the world’s newest and most environmentally friendly aircraft and is much quieter than comparable aircraft types. Since 2019, the Lufthansa Group has more than doubled the share of latest technology in its fleet to 20% (141 aircraft). A total of 18 older aircraft have been removed from the Group fleet in exchange. In December 2023, a total of 80 additional Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A220-300 short- and medium-haul aircraft were ordered and 120 purchase options were signed. Together with previous orders, the order book now comprises around 260 latest-generation aircraft.
↗ Fleet

Technical measures are being developed for the existing fleet

Measures to retrofit the existing fleet are also constantly being examined and implemented where appropriate. The “AeroSHARK” functional surface coating developed by Lufthansa Technik together with BASF is one example of the successful implementation of such measures. Their so-called “riblet films”, named after their microscopically small ribs found on shark skin, are capable of reducing the drag of large commercial aircraft, and thus their kerosene consumption, by around 1%.

In 2022, the AeroSHARK technology was authorised for mass production for two Boeing 777 types for the first time. In October 2022, SWISS completed its first scheduled flight with a Boeing 777-300ER whose fuselage and engine pods had previously been modified with these riblet films over a surface area of 950 square metres. Lufthansa Cargo’s first flight involving a Boeing 777F modified with AeroSHARK over a surface area of around 800 square metres followed in February 2023. At the end of 2023, the Lufthansa Group had a total of 15 Boeing 777s fitted with AeroSHARK in service, including 11 Boeing 777-300ERs at SWISS and 4 Boeing 777Fs at Lufthansa Cargo. Following the modification of all Group aircraft of these two types, it is expected that cumulative savings in excess of 8,000 tonnes of fuel and more than 25,000 tonnes of CO2 per year will be possible in future.

To maximise the global savings potential, Lufthansa Technik has also been marketing AeroSHARK to airlines outside the Lufthansa Group. For external airlines, Lufthansa Technik plans to fit more than 100 aircraft of the types Boeing 777F and 777-300ER with AeroSHARK over the next few years.

As well as the current aircraft types, the aim is also to obtain approval for the Airbus A330, the Boeing 737 and the A320neo.

Sustainable aviation fuel to be used more widely

SAF sales are set to be increased via the continuous development of more sustainable products, which customers can use throughout the travel chain, e.g. during the booking process or in-flight.

Global SAF production capacity, and therefore availability, has so far been very limited. Overall global production capacity would only be sufficient for around 0.1% of worldwide aviation fuel consumption. In order to continually safeguard the supply of SAF, the Lufthansa Group follows a three-part strategy:

  • To enable the continuous procurement of SAF on the spot market, up to USD 250 million has been released for the period up to 2026 by the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG.
  • In addition, options for long-term supply commitments around the world are under consideration. These are expected to offer considerable production volumes and security of supply from around 2025 onwards. In the reporting year, two further letters of intent were signed in order to secure a permanent supply of sustainable aviation fuels for the Lufthansa Group.
  • In the long term, the Lufthansa Group will provide support for innovative supply concepts with the goal of transforming today’s start-ups and developers into tomorrow’s suppliers. In this regard, the Lufthansa Group focuses on synthetic kerosene based on residual materials, ligneous biomass and renewable electrical energy (power-to-liquid – PtL) as well as on research into the direct use of sunlight for fuel synthesis. To accelerate the market introduction of particularly forward-looking sustainable aviation fuels, next year the Lufthansa Group intends to establish an SAF Buyers Alliance. This is intended to pool demand on the part of multiple corporate customers, to enable the construction of pilot systems for fuel generation.

For 2024, it is envisaged that SWISS will use solar fuels. This involves new thermochemical reaction processes which use solar radiation to manufacture synthetic kerosene from atmospheric carbon dioxide and water. In the reporting year, Lufthansa Airlines also signed a letter of intent for a research partnership with the German Aerospace Center, Munich Airport, Airbus and MTU for operational testing of every aspect of PtL use in daily flight operations. This includes a wide range of questions relating to the use of SAF, such as the use of pure (100%) PtL fuel and the effect of SAF on the formation of contrails.

At the political level, the Lufthansa Group supports a global strategy for the supply of sustainable aviation fuels. In addition to a competition-neutral approach to blending quotas in Europe, this also includes, for instance, the definition of quantifiable goals and ambitious sustainability criteria for the use of SAF at the level of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The Lufthansa Group has supported this process since 2023 through its membership of the ICAO Fuel Task Group. At the level of the EU, the Lufthansa Group advocates a simplification of the compliance processes for SAF-related regulation and has prepared a position paper on a book and claim system. This involves trading SAF on the basis of certificates rather than physically.


Single European airspace is intended to reduce emissions

The European Commission’s legislative proposal for the further development of the European airspace (SES2+) is intended to help further harmonise and optimise European air traffic management. The technological basis for this is the results of Europe’s Single European Sky ATM Research Program (SESAR), which is developing, testing and introducing new technologies, procedures and standards throughout Europe.

The European Commission’s target of increasing efficiency by up to 10% through shorter flight paths, improved capacity management and fewer delays is to be achieved through the SESAR programme in terms of research and implementation. Capacity-boosting measures in the airspace play a significant role in efficient flight operations and are of vital importance for ensuring a stable flight plan and fewer delays. The Lufthansa Group provided various support measures in this area, including investing in modern communication technologies. Due to the major relevance of the development of the European airspace for the Lufthansa Group, it also continues to participate in the SESAR Deployment Manager (SDM) industry consortium as a member and with the active support of experts.

The implementation of these technologies, processes and standards in daily operations is coordinated within the scope of the SDM’s activities. Across Europe, the SDM coordinated 348 projects in 2023. The Lufthansa Group participated in six of these implementation projects and was also actively involved in SESAR research and demonstration projects (SESAR 3) with various airlines in the Lufthansa Group and Lufthansa Systems as an IT provider. The goal is to be able to implement even short-term efficiency gains at pace. In addition to the two projects already under way, SWISS is participating in four projects launched in 2023 which relate to optimised flight management and arrival time management in Zurich, as part of the Horizon Europe funding programme.

The Lufthansa Group received funding from the European Union for research and development projects and for its active participation in the SDM.

Intermodal transport offers to Lufthansa Group hubs are being expanded

The Lufthansa Group, in cooperation with the German, Austrian and Swiss national railway companies (Deutsche Bahn, Österreichische Bundesbahnen and Schweizerische Bundesbahnen) and some bus operators in its home markets, offers alternatives to feeder flights to and from the hubs. These intermodal options are integrated into the Lufthansa Group’s range of services via a flight number and are treated as largely equivalent to a flight in terms of the service package for the customer.

The joint offers are being continuously expanded and optimised. In the reporting year, the frequency of the partner service with Austrian Federal Railways between Vienna and Salzburg has been increased. This made up for the fact that the flight covering the same route was not re-introduced following the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, two new destinations were added to the Lufthansa Group’s partnership with Deutsche Bahn in 2023: Augsburg and Siegburg/Bonn
↗ Customer concerns / Product & Services


Numerous fuel-saving projects reduce carbon emissions significantly

Making optimal use of the aircraft fleet on particular routes, based on the level of demand on these routes, is a key task for flight operations and ensures that the overall passenger load factor for each flight is optimised.

In the reporting year, 67 fuel-saving projects were under way across the Group. These projects comprise activities relating to performance and procedures, weight reduction, flight route optimisation and technical developments.

Another 25,100 tonnes of carbon emissions were thus permanently eliminated in the reporting year. The quantity of kerosene saved amounted to around 8,000 tonnes – this is equivalent to approximately 97 return flights between Munich and New York with an Airbus A350-900 aircraft.

Some examples of these 67 fuel-saving projects are detailed below.

Progress made in the OPS Sustainability Program contributes to carbon reduction targets

The OPS Sustainability Program is a three-step approach to the sustainable reduction of carbon emissions. It was launched in November 2022 by the Operations Efficiency department in cooperation with all flight operations of the Lufthansa Group and will run until 2030. Measures to improve efficiency are being implemented in a number of areas of action along the operational production chain – from flight preparation to in-flight optimisation measures and handling services on the ground to the data-based evaluation of completed flights.

The first of the three steps consists of 93 ideas for projects which are planned to be implemented in stages in the period up to 2025. In the reporting year, 6,700 tonnes of CO2 savings were already realised in operational areas through the implementation of 35 projects. Examples of such projects include the use of only one engine during taxing and reducing aircraft weight by deploying lighter loading aids. At the same time, a multiple-airline database has been developed which enables uniform recording, follow-up and reporting of emission reductions achieved. The OPS Sustainability Program also aims to support the process of transformation in the corporate culture. It has thus been decided that an overarching philosophy and policy, which defines the captain's responsibility for sustainability aspects during flight operations, will be incorporated into the operating manuals of the Lufthansa Group airlines. In addition, awareness of sustainability issues has been enhanced among flight instructors with a view to integrating these issues in the flight training which they provide, thus making use of them as multipliers.

The reductions in carbon emissions achieved in the OPS Sustainability Program are continuously measured and tracked via the Framework and Certification work package, which makes them an important building block for achieving the Lufthansa Group’s SBTi targets.

More efficient concepts for departure and approachare being implemented and progress made with the digitalisation of approach technologies

Modern, satellite-based Required Navigation Performance (RNP) technology plays an important role in the introduction of new flight procedures at European airports. With this technology, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has set minimum standards for the navigation performance required of an aircraft.

A shorter RNP departure route newly introduced at Stuttgart Airport in 2023 is used by Eurowings aircraft, saving around 26 tonnes of fuel and thus 81 tonnes of CO2 in the reporting year. Austrian Airlines also uses the fuel-saving RNP approach procedure at Vienna Airport. This procedure also affects noise emissions. ↗ Environmental concerns / Active noise abatement

The three-year HERON (Highly Efficient gReen OperatioNs) project, which is funded by the EU, was launched in November 2022 as part of SESAR 3 with the goal of developing more environmentally efficient and vertically and laterally improved flight paths for Frankfurt, Dusseldorf and Cologne airports. Apart from the Lufthansa Group, the project’s participants include German air traffic control (Deutsche Flugsicherung, DFS). The Lufthansa Group’s practical work on HERON began during the reporting year. This incorporates the results of the AI-based flight path analyses from the ALBATROSS research and development project funded by the EU, which ended in 2023.

In addition, in 2023 the Lufthansa Group decided to invest earlier than the EU requires by law in the new ADS-C EPP technology, which enables flight path information to be transferred in real time. This information enables air traffic control to manage the airspace more efficiently and optimise aircraft routing. From 2024, all Airbus A320neos / A321neos newly entering service in the Lufthansa Group will be delivered already equipped with this automated flight profile transfer technology. From 2028, this new technology must be installed by default in all newly delivered aircraft and air traffic control ground systems in the EU.

Flight operations management optimised thanks to artificial intelligence

Together with Google Cloud, the Lufthansa Group has developed the Operations Decision Support Suite (OPSD) management tool. OPSD uses artificial intelligence to optimise the complex interaction between aircraft movements and routes, use of aircraft, maintenance cycles, passenger bookings and much more besides. Using historical and current data, OPSD generates possible development scenarios on the basis of the options provided and weighs them up against one another on a multidimensional basis. This analysis enables flight planners and flight management personnel to make decisions faster. This in turn can help to avoid carbon emissions, for instance by ensuring that the aircraft with the optimum fuel-saving profile is selected for a specific route or that seat occupancy is optimised. In the reporting year, SWISS became the first airline in the Lufthansa Group to have OPSD introduced.


Economic measures to protect the environment are vitally important as long as sustainable propulsion technologies are not in place and sustainable aircraft fuel is not available in sufficient quantities.

Carbon emissions being offset mandatorily

The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), which was agreed with the ICAO in October 2016, has been offsetting growth-related carbon emissions in international aviation through the purchase of certificates since 2021. CORSIA is designed to compensate for all emissions from the aviation sector that exceed the baseline carbon emissions defined by the ICAO. This is based on the 2019 emissions for the pilot phase (2021 to 2023) and, for the years 2024 to 2035, on 85% of the emissions from 2019. In 2021 and 2022, the Lufthansa Group did not make any CORSIA carbon offset payments due to the crisis-related global decline in traffic. The same is expected for 2023. CORSIA offsets are expected to arise in 2024 for the first time. This primarily depends on the pace of the recovery of the aviation sector in the countries participating in the CORSIA pilot phase.

The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) for air traffic has managed and limited carbon emissions by means of certificate trading since 2012. All flights carried out by the Lufthansa Group within the European Economic Area (EEA) are subject to this system. The emissions trading schemes of Switzerland (CH ETS) and the United Kingdom (UK ETS) for flights between the EEA, Switzerland and the United Kingdom impose additional obligations to surrender emissions certificates.

In 2023, the Lufthansa Group continued to work with A4E (Airlines for Europe) to monitor and support the revision process of the European Emissions Trading Directive at the political level. The project aims to harmonise CORSIA and the EU ETS in order to avoid double regulation.

The Lufthansa Group companies emitted some 8.5 million metric tonnes of CO₂ in the reporting year within the scope of the EU ETS, CH EHS and UK ETS. In 2023, the Lufthansa Group received emissions certificates corresponding to 3.8 million tonnes of CO₂ emissions from national registry authorities (including the UK ETS) for its companies. From 2024, free emissions certificates are to be reduced within the EU ETS and CH EHS. As things currently stand, the UK ETS is not affected by this. Since a 25% reduction is envisaged in 2024, the Lufthansa Group is only anticipating allocations of free emissions certificates for some 2.8 million tonnes of CO2 for 2024.

For further information on the provisions made in connection with the obligation to submit CO₂ emissions certificates to the competent authorities, please refer to ↗ Notes to the consolidated financial statements, Note 37

More sustainable flight offerings for customers are being expanded

The Lufthansa Group is continuously expanding its services and offerings for more sustainable flight options. Its Green Fares are worth highlighting in particular with regard to the reporting year. In mid-February 2023, these Green Fares made the Lufthansa Group the first airline group in the world to offer a separate fare which includes compensation of flight-related carbon emissions. In addition, new technologies for long-term binding of CO2 were added to the Group’s portfolio of offset projects in 2023. ↗ Customer concerns / Product & Services

The Lufthansa Group’s measures and commitments for offsetting flight-related carbon emissions through economic instruments should be considered separately from customers’ options for more sustainable flying.

The Lufthansa Group voluntarily compensates the carbon emissions from its own duty trips

Since 2019, the Lufthansa Group has been offsetting the carbon emissions from all of its employees’ duty flights globally. In 2023, 74,545 tonnes of CO₂ were compensated through the climate protection organisations myclimate, Climate Partner, Squake and Climate Austria.

Other climate protection measures
CleanTech Hub, which previously had project status, has been integrated into the Lufthansa Group’s established departments

In 2023, within the scope of the continuous development of the Lufthansa Group’s sustainability management system, CleanTech Hub was integrated into the Group’s organisational structure and task areas, having previously had the status of a project.

The Corporate Responsibility department monitors the ongoing development of clean technology activities in terms of the contribution they make to reducing emissions with a view to achieving the Lufthansa Group’s 2030 and 2050 targets.

The Hydrogen Aviation Lab is testing maintenance and ground processes for future aircraft generations with hydrogen as a primary energy source

In 2021, Lufthansa Technik and its partners from research and industry initiated a project funded by the Hanseatic City of Hamburg in which extensive maintenance and ground processes for handling hydrogen technology are designed and tested. For this purpose, preparations were made in the reporting year for Lufthansa Technik to fit an Airbus A320 with a fuel cell to supply specific on-board systems and the distribution and monitoring unit for liquid hydrogen (LH2). In the coming year, a fully functional stationary field laboratory is set to be established.

Lufthansa Technik’s main contribution to this project will be its operational expertise in maintaining and modifying commercial aircraft. The Company is also able to incorporate the customer’s perspective to a significant extent thanks to its close relationships with airlines around the world.

The Lufthansa Group is committed to climate research

The Lufthansa Group has been involved in various research projects examining the atmosphere and the climate since 1994. As part of the European research infrastructure IAGOS (In-service Aircraft for a Global Observing System), the Lufthansa Group works closely with its research partners from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the Jülich Research Centre to equip selected passenger aircraft with measuring instruments that collect data about the condition of the atmosphere on scheduled flights. This data is freely accessible and is used by around 300 organisations worldwide. It helps scientists to acquire new knowledge about the atmosphere and climate change and to detect long-term changes.

Since 2021, Lufthansa Airlines’ Airbus A350 “Erfurt” has been undergoing conversion for use as the new platform for the IAGOS-CARIBIC (Civil Aircraft for the Regular Investigation of the Atmosphere Based on an Instrument Container) measurement system. The second key project milestone was achieved in 2023. The newly developed measurement probe system was installed in an aircraft for the first time in order to complete a flight programme agreed with the certification authority. As a final step, the new measuring equipment container is to be developed and approved for use by external research partners of the Lufthansa Group. A maiden flight with the overall system is due to take place in late 2024.

The Lufthansa Group is examining measures to reduce its overall climate impact

At Germany’s National Aviation Conference in September 2023, the German airlines announced test flights aimed at avoiding contrails which impact the climate. Lufthansa Airlines will take part in these flights as part of the D-KULT research project, which has been under way since 2022. The goal is to test the quality and reliability of the forecast data and flight planning tools. These will then be used to identify and fly around areas where contrails may potentially form. To determine whether contrails were actually avoided on rerouted flights, satellite observations will be consulted and evaluated.

SWISS is participating in the three-year CICONIA project, which is funded by the EU. Since mid-2023, this project has been looking into what are known as non-CO₂ effects, such as contrails, and how to reduce them. The data sources and IT applications required for climate-optimised flight planning, as well as the related processes for cooperation between the meteorological service, the scientific community and airlines, are being developed and tested in the projectsD-KULT and CICONIA, which are coordinated with each other..

Since late 2023, within the scope of an as yet undefined regulatory framework for non-CO2 climate impacts such as those related to contrails, the Lufthansa Group has provided its expertise and information to support the German Aerospace Center with the development of a reporting and review system required by the European Commission..

Carbon emissions from ground processes are being reduced

Processes on the ground, such as real estate management and handling processes on the airport apron, also produce carbon emissions. In its efforts to reduce these emissions, the Lufthansa Group focuses on three areas of action: procuring and using renewable energy, increasing energy efficiency in building operations, and achieving carbon-neutral ground mobility. The Group aims to reach the milestone of switching to carbon-neutral mobility on the ground in its home markets by 2030.

In the reporting year, organisational structures were established to lay the foundations for developing an overall concept to reduce the carbon emissions associated with ground processes and for implementing control mechanisms. The overarching coordination unit is Green Ground Energy Management in the Infrastructure Management department, which reports to the Human Resources & Infrastructure Executive Board function. This unit cooperates closely with the Brand & Sustainability Executive Board function and the Lufthansa Airline function Business Development and Sustainability.

Procurement and use of renewable energy

The target which the Lufthansa Group set itself in 2019 – meeting its electricity requirements in its domestic markets of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium using 100% green electricity – was achieved in 2020. This target continues to apply. Green electricity certificates for Germany and Switzerland are purchased for this purpose. These certificates guarantee the production of green electricity from new plants and thus contribute to the expansion of renewable energy. In Belgium, green electricity is supplied directly via the airports. In the reporting year, Vienna Airport did not make any green electricity available and it was therefore not possible to supply Austrian Airlines and other Lufthansa Group airlines operating at this base with green electricity. The Lufthansa Group companies operating at the Vienna base account for around 9% of the total electricity consumption of the Lufthansa Group in the DACHB region.

During the reporting year, the Lufthansa Group’s energy procurement department, which is centrally integrated into the procurement organisation of Lufthansa Global Business Services (LGBS), initiated a tender for the integration of power purchase agreements (PPAs) for electricity from, for instance, solar power plants and wind farms. The results of the tender are expected in the first quarter of 2024. Subject to a positive decision, the PPA is due to be implemented from 2026 onwards. In concluding a PPA, the Lufthansa Group aims to increase its planning security and minimise procurement risks in an energy market which has undergone significant changes and to directly source renewable energy-based electricity, for the purposes of ensuring a sustainable energy supply.

Increasing energy efficiency in buildings during construction, renovation and use

The Lufthansa Group is aiming to gradually increase the energy efficiency of its building operations by continuously reviewing and optimising the operation of its real estate with regard to energy consumption and efficiency and by implementing appropriate improvement measures.

The measures implemented in this area are set out in the Group-wide real estate policy, which includes a comprehensive set of binding energy specifications for sustainable real estate management. This means, for example, that sustainability aspects must be considered for new leases or the construction of new buildings and for renovations and repair and maintenance projects, based on a predefined checklist. Each business unit is responsible for the decentralised implementation of these measures. In addition, the Lufthansa Group’s portfolio of buildings is to undergo an energy evaluation and further energy efficiency measures are to be identified as part of the energy audits required by law within the EU every four years. This was implemented in the reporting year.

Achieving carbon-neutral mobility on the ground

The Lufthansa Group aims to achieve carbon-neutral mobility in its ground processes by 2030 with electromobility or the use of other emission-free vehicles. The existing fleet of apron vehicles and company cars will be used more efficiently, and the targeted replacement of these vehicles with electric or other alternative drive systems within the Lufthansa Group will be driven forward. The intention is to maintain operational stability in terms of the charging infrastructure, energy consumption and efficiency, as well as vehicle availability and performance.

These processes are the responsibility of the fleet management in each company. In 2023, the smaller locations of Berlin, Dusseldorf, Cologne and Stuttgart were included alongside the Group’s major sites in terms of purchasing of new vehicles and the switch to carbon-neutral drive systems for the Lufthansa Group’s operational fleet. A total of 26 electric apron vehicles were purchased at all of the locations included in the reporting year. For instance, Lufthansa Engineering and Operational Services (LEOS), the Lufthansa Group’s ground handling specialist, put two further fully electrically powered aircraft tugs into operation at Frankfurt Airport in 2023. In Frankfurt, alongside what are now four fully electrical aircraft tugs, LEOS now also has two hybrid tug vehicles.

This brings the total number of electric vehicles at these locations to 46 in 2023, which is equivalent to around 4% of these locations’ total operational vehicle fleet.

For Lufthansa Group company cars, the focus was expanded in 2023 to include Brussels, Vienna and Zurich in addition to the Group’s locations in Germany. The number of all-electric company cars in the Lufthansa Group’s fleet rose from 374 vehicles in the previous year (of which 255 were in Germany) to 554 in the reporting year. They thus account for a share of 36%.

If the speed of implementation is to be accelerated, the availability of vehicles and technology, especially for vans and crew buses, is crucial, as is the expansion of the electric charging infrastructure on the apron, which is the responsibility of the airports. These operational interdependencies require the Lufthansa Group to maintain continuous dialogue with its system partners, including airport operators, building operators, vehicle manufacturers, ground handling service providers and energy suppliers. The Lufthansa Group has assessed its requirements and needs concerning the development and expansion of the charging infrastructure and has addressed these issues with the airport operators in Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, Vienna and Zurich. It keeps in regular contact with the airports regarding the status of implementation.

Performance indicator
Specific CO2 emissions per passenger-kilometre drop to new best value for the Lufthansa Group

The absolute CO₂ emissions resulting from the combustion of kerosene by Lufthansa Group aircraft in 2023 increased by 16% to 26.8 million tonnes (previous year: 23.1 million tonnes) due to the rise in demand and the expanded flight capacity. CO₂ emissions per transported tonne-kilometre declined by 2.8 grammes to 833.9 grammes (previous year: 836.7 grammes). Specific CO₂ emissions per passenger-kilometre were 1.8% lower than in the previous year at 88.4 grammes (previous year: 90.0 grammes). No distinction is made in these disclosures between fossil and biogenic CO2 emissions.

The Lufthansa Group improved its performance by 2.7% compared with 2019 in terms of the core KPI of the Science-based Targets Initiative (measured in grammes of CO2 per revenue tonne-kilometre).

Taking biogenic CO2 – from the use of SAF – into account for the first time in the calculation of the SBTi KPI means that this improvement represents a reduction of 0.3 percentage points compared with the previous year on a like-for-like basis.

The reduction in specific emissions in the Group fleet compared with the previous year was mainly due to an increase in the passenger load factor, changes in the route network, that resulted in a structural increase in average flight length. Longer routes typically create lower specific emissions because the emissions from take-offs and landings, which are higher than in-flight emissions, become less significant in overall terms as the flight distance increases. Despite this, the efficiency improvement was below expectations. Longer flight routes (detours) because of airspace closures due to armed conflicts resulted in higher fuel consumption, whereas tonne-kilometres are still measured by the great-circle distance and not the kilometres actually flown.

Lufthansa Group Annual Report 2023