The aviation industry is a global wonder, connecting people all over the world. Connecting people across the world comes at a high environmental cost unfortunately. Major airlines such as Etihad and Finnair are implementing measures to reduce waste, by using recycled materials or removing plastics from flights. While this goes a long way it does not solve the biggest issue that the aviation industry faces. Airplanes rely on jet fuel which is distilled from crude oil and is therefore a fossil fuel.
So is there a solution in the future, or is it already here?
Well, a small Swedish airline, FlygBRA may have come with a solution, at least on a regional level. The airline has its base at Bromma, Stockholm, and serve 14 Swedish cities from the hub. Their fleet consists of 13 aircraft comprising 4 ATR-500’s, 4 Avro RJ 85’s and 5 Avro RJ 100’s. The Avro fleet is being slowly phased out to be replaced by more ATR aircraft. What makes FlygBRA stand out is their work towards a fossil free regional network, which is expected to be completed by 2030. They have taken great strides towards this already. The fleet runs partly on biofuels, which is not carbon neutral but produces 70% less CO2 than traditional jet fuel. The plane can carry a 50/50 fuel mix of traditional jet fuel and biofuel. This means that a flight with FlygBRA produces 35% less emissions than a similar flight with 100% traditional jet fuel.
FlygBRA does more for the environment than reducing CO2 emission. They also climate compensate. Whilst most airlines have economy and business class for shorter flights, FlygBRA offers regular tickets or ECO-class. ECO-class is around $30 more expensive per ticket but gives passengers a free coffee and a snack. The additional money goes to a fund that is purposed for creating a future where aviation is run on renewable energy resources. FlygBRA are implementing other small solutions to reduce their carbon footprint. They avoid flying above 8000 meters cruising altitude, meaning the plane will not be affected by high altitude currents. Food and drinks served onboard are fair-trade and eco products and all tableware being used onboard such as cups and plates are made from recyclables or reusable materials.
Whilst intercontinental flights may have to wait a few more years to be able to reduce emissions in the same fashion, regional flying (flights shorter than 2 hours), can take steps like this to do as much as possible to make the aviation industry the most sustainable and convenient mode of transport in the world.