Sustainability developments from around the world

A red vertical aircraft with multiple propellers, with the writing "Air Greenland" on its side, is flying above a snowy mountain range

Etihad, KLM and KLM Cityhopper work with SATAVIA and NATS on contrail prevention

Research suggests that aircraft-generated condensation trails (contrails) cause a climate impact almost double that of direct CO2 emissions from aircraft engines alone. In order to tackle this effect airlines like Etihad, KLM and KLM Cityhopper are working with UK-based SATAVIA to avoid aircraft-generated contrails which add to surface warming. UK air navigation service provider NATS and EUROCONTROL support SATAVIA - who provide atmospheric modelling that optimises flight plans for contrail prevention - as well as airlines such as KLM, KLM Cityhopper and Etihad to test the science. In May 2022, NATS facilitated a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Edmonton, which passed through Scottish airspace, with minor modifications to the flight plan to avoid contrail-forming areas. Etihad equally avoided flying into contrail-forming areas during 22 contrail prevention flights the airline conducted over the course of three days.

Condensation trails – so-called contrails – are formed by water, soot and cool air. When water vapour is ejected from the exhaust nozzle of an aircraft engine into sufficiently cold air, it condenses and freezes around soot and other particles in the air, creating tiny ice crystals. In certain atmospheric conditions, these ice crystals create layers of cirrus clouds, causing a ‘blanket’ effect which keeps warmer air trapped in the lower atmosphere. EUROCONTROL is also closely involved in investigating the link between where aircraft fly and contrail formation and has launched ground-breaking live contrail prevention trials with DLR, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) already in 2021.

Etihad Aviation Group
KLM Cityhopper

First A380 powered by 100% SAF takes to the skies

Airbus performed its first A380 flight powered by 100% sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) in March 2022. The test aircraft MSN 1 operated one Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine on 100% SAF. Total Energies supplied Airbus with 27 tonnes of unblended SAF, made from HEFA. A second test flight from Toulouse to Nice that was realised on the 29 March used SAF during take-off and landing. Previously, Airbus attempted to operate flights on 100% SAF; the first was with an Airbus A350 in March 2021 and then with an A319neo single-aisle aircraft in October 2021. Although all Airbus aircraft are currently certified to fly with up to a 50% blend of SAF mixed with kerosene, the main aim is to achieve certification of 100% SAF by the end of this decade. The A380 aircraft used during the test is the same aircraft known as Airbus’ ZEROe Demonstrator, a testbed in order to develop the first zero-emission aircraft in the world to market by 2035.


Avolon and Air Greenland partner to tackle climate change by bringing zero-emissions air travel to the region

Avolon, the international aircraft leasing company, announces that it has partnered with Air Greenland, the flag-carrier for Greenland, to bring zero-emissions travel to the region and help tackle the issue of climate change. Avolon and Air Greenland will partner to form a working group to assess the opportunity to commercialise zero-emissions air travel in the region. The working group will also collaborate to identify local infrastructure and certification requirements for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. As part of the agreement, Air Greenland will commit to purchasing or leasing a fleet of VX4 eVTOL aircraft, manufactured by Vertical Aerospace, from Avolon.

Air Greenland

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Latest highlights

News around the world

Aviation sustainability developments from around the world

Beatriz Yordi

Reducing aviation’s climate impacts should be seen more as an opportunity rather than as a constraint

EUROCONTROL headquarters (HQ)

Latest news on EUROCONTROL’s work on sustainability

Meiltje de Groot , CEO of Groningen Airport Eelde

At Groningen Airport Eelde Europe's first 'Hydrogen Valley Airport' will be developed

John Santurbano

EUROCONTROL Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC) offers a new service to airlines for environmentally more responsible routes

Contrails in Focus

Contrails in Focus