It’s no secret that flying isn’t the most sustainable form of travel, however, apart from travelling overseas less as consumers, are there opportunities for aircraft to be even a little more environmentally friendly? The travel alternatives to get halfway across the world are somewhat limited for now.
So, can anything be done?
Japan’s largest 5-Star airline, All Nippon Airways, thinks so, with the release of their debut aircraft Green Jet on 5th October 2022, on the Tokyo Haneda – San Francisco route. With the aim of promoting sustainability, reducing CO2 emissions, and increasing awareness within the industry, Green Jet includes a multitude of environmentally conscious features throughout the aircraft that show how we can make a slightly less impactful step on our planet when we fly.
‘Our goal is to create a more sustainable society, while helping our local communities and enhancing corporate value, and we have dedicated this aircraft to help promote these efforts.’
Through ‘utilising the technological advances currently available and investing in new solutions, ANA is working hard to create a safe, efficient and sustainable operation’.
ANA President and CEO, Shinichi Inoue
Unlike the classic blue livery, Green Jet features, naturally, more elements of green, as the universal colour for sustainability. The ‘ANA Future Promise’ logo, ‘SAF Flight Initiative’ logo*, and the green leaf and water motifs represent ANA’s desire to protect the earth and act towards a more sustainable approach to aviation and the industry.
*SAF is a next generation Sustainable Aviation Fuel, derived from 100% renewable waste and residue materials, such as cooking oils.
In 2020, ANA became the first Japanese airline to enter into a mid-to-long term procurement agreement with Neste, the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel. Since then, ANA has regularly procured SAF from Neste, for use on scheduled international flights departing from Japan. In its neat form, SAF can reduce up to 90% of greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil jet fuel and provides an almost immediate solution to reducing the direct greenhouse gases emitted from flying.
Another feature on the Green Jet livery is the special aircraft material developed by Nikon Corporation that has a riblet texture which mimics a ‘shark skin effect’ when in the air, decreasing air resistance and thus CO2 emissions. ANA will analyse the success rates of this as it’s used more frequently.
“Our goal is to create a more sustainable society, while helping our local communities and enhancing corporate value, and we have dedicated this aircraft to help promote these efforts”ANA President and CEO, Shinichi Inoue
As an embodiment of the potential for future aircraft, Green Jet includes headrest covers crafted from earth-friendly vegan leather developed by Toray Industries, Inc. and Aomori Prefecture-based venture company appcycle, Inc. This leather is partially made from residue apple juice from apples grown in the Aomori Prefecture and symbolises ANA’s commitment to contributing to regional economies. Plastic has also been eliminated on the aircraft in favour of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified paper cups, lids, and straws, as well as wooden cutlery and muddlers. Dessert cups for business class have been replaced with reusable ceramic bowls too, instead of plastic containers.
Even the lighting and background music create an air of serenity, with green hues and calming music, that let you embrace the feeling of being surrounded by nature on-board; a unique and peaceful setting that enhances the experience further.
On 14th November 2022, the second ANA Green Jet flight, dedicated to domestic routes, began service on the NH253 Tokyo Haneda – Fukuoka flight, marking the first time ANA had begun using mass-produced SAF. The aircraft will soon be introduced on regular scheduled domestic flights.
“To be able to use mass-produced SAF for domestic flights is an exciting step towards reducing our carbon emissions and achieving our sustainability goals… In addition, with the use of the ANA Green Jet on domestic routes to raise awareness of SAF with our customers and the public, ANA hopes to be a leader in the industry and inspire others to follow suit”ANA President and CEO, Shinichi Inoue
To ensure there is longevity in these steps, and in an effort to reduce the disposal of resources, ANA has launched a resource recycling scheme with Sojitz Pla-Net Corporation, distributors of wholesale plastic products, which is the first collaboration of its kind in Japan’s transportation industry. Used plastic film from cargo will be recycled and reproduced into products used by ANA.
This programme will involve using used / old aircraft parts and uniforms to develop upcycled products to be used within the company, encouraging customer participation as well to increase awareness.
Looking ahead, ANA Group plans to replace at least 10% of its jet fuel with SAF by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2050. It’s exciting to see one of Japan’s leading airlines taking the initiative to make these changes and increasing awareness for what’s possible in this industry.
We look forward to seeing more Green Jets, and their equivalents, throughout the aviation industry in the coming years.
I slid open the frosted window and stuck my head out into the cold, white void….
Our individual carbon footprints have come under increasing levels of scrutiny in recent years. Flying significantly…
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