Whilst we might be in the midst of a pandemic, airlines are still trying to reduce their emissions. Air France is trying to achieve this by switching to electricity powered ramp equipment.
Air France has committed to using electric-powered ramp equipment, and on 3 September 2020, tested the ramp handling of a Paris-Delhi flight using all-electric engines produced by French start-up CARWATT and TLD.
Some of this equipment is certified by the Solar Impulse Foundation – of which Air France is a partner – for its ecological and economic value. The following equipment was used:
- For the aircraft’s air supply: a Lebrun TLD air conditioner
- For the transfer of baggage from the terminal to the aircraft, a Charlatte tractor
- For baggage loading: a CARWATT conveyor belt
- For cargo loading, a TLD wide-body TLD loader
- For pushback, the aircraft was pushed back from its parking stand by a TLD wide-body tug.
Air France and TLD engineers will soon be testing the self-guided aircraft approach in real-life conditions (equivalent to a “park assist” on cars) for the new electric loaders used to load cargo onboard aircraft.
By the end of 2020, close to 60% of the fleet of ramp equipment used by Air France at airports where the airline operates its own equipment (Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly and Air France stations in mainland France) will be electric.
The airline aims to increase this to 90% in 2025, making it possible to save 10,000 tons of CO2 emission every year. By 2030, Air France aims to make it’s ground operations carbon neutral.
Meanwhile, the flight itself was operated by an Airbus A350, which itself is 25% more efficient than previous generation aircraft the airline operated.
Whilst airlines may be moving to use more plastic to cover items at the moment (to hygienically protect items), the need to reduce the impact flying and the associated emissions a flight generates (and not just in the air) hasn’t gone away.
With moves like this to remove emissions on the ground, it could be a step closer as aviation tries to be a little greener.
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