September 29, 2022

Airline alliances foster cooperation among airlines and can play a pivotal role in facilitating and spurring the transition towards sustainable aviation.

As the largest airline alliance in the world, Star Alliance enables seamless customer experience across its global network and proclaims sustainability to be at the centre of all its operations. Started in 1997 by five leading airlines, Star Alliance’s membership has steadily grown to include 26 members.

In this episode of our ‘Sustainability in the Air’ podcast, Star Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh speaks with SimpliFlying CEO, Shashank Nigam and shares how the alliance is supporting airlines in stepping up their sustainability game.

You can listen and subscribe to this episode here.

Here are some of the things Jeffrey Goh and Shashank Nigam talked about:

  • A Train in the alliance? Deutsche Bahn Partnership
  • Encouraging airlines to be sustainable
  • Sustainability Summit and knowledge sharing
  • Are alliances effective at driving change?
  • Joint procurement of SAF and associated challenges
  • Are airlines playing defense when it comes to sustainability?
  • Sustainability beyond the environmental perspective

Special thanks to our season partner CarbonClick – we plant one tree for every new listener and 50 trees for each review!

All funds will go to the Maputo Bay Reforestation Initiative in southern Mozambique.

Subscribe to the #Sustainability In The Air podcast so that you don’t miss a single conversation.

Recently we were told that a large airport planning for hydrogen-powered aircraft would be an undertaking equivalent to building a new terminal.

At first, this sounded like an exaggeration, so we went to look into this a bit further, and sure enough, the Aerospace Technology Institute earlier this year came out with a report, which made the following projections:

In 2050 a 50 million passenger-a-year airport – equivalent to Toronto Pearson based on 2019 figures – will need the following storage capacity:

50,000 sqm if the hydrogen arrives by tanker, 75,000 if it arrives via pipeline, and 130,000 sqm if it’s produced on site.

By comparison, Heathrow’s Terminal Two is 40,000 sq metres (main terminal only), and Terminal Three covers 98,962 square metres.

It’s perfectly possible that this can happen, but at the same time it’s not an insignificant investment. And the space is only one part of the investment.

So will airports shy away from a major undertaking like this?

Some might see it as a revenue opportunity, in a LinkedIn discussion, sustainability consultant Vincent de Haes gave Rotterdam-The Hague Airport as an example of an airport that could “take a bigger bite” out of the value chain by catering for hydrogen-powered aircraft.

On the other hand as Jeff Ovens from (SAF company) Fulcrum pointed out:

“You can fly to 230 airports from LHR alone, so each one of those may need similar infrastructure and investment.

“Each one of those will need National hydrogen policy to support a hydrogen transition and provide the hydrogen to refuel. Even if you take 25% of those routes as ‘hydrogen mission enabled’ it’s still an astronomical ask. Who’s paying?”

Who pays is obviously something that will need an answer fairly soon as the industry accelerates towards net zero.

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