DHL flight puts fuel-saving steps to the test

Global courier DHL Express (OTCMKTS: DPSGY) plans to leave its cleanest mark in the sky on Wednesday, July 1, when a full freighter takes off from its Leipzig, Germany, hub en route to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

DHL said it is taking advantage of less busy airspace resulting from the novel coronavirus pandemic to operate a “perfect flight” for saving jet fuel and cutting carbon emissions. In-house airline European Air Transport will take more than 50 steps to maximize the Airbus A330-200’s fuel economy and minimize environmental impact. The flight will include a typical payload of 60 tons of freight.

The German-based carrier has included various sustainability considerations in the operation of the aircraft, including washing the engines before the flight to improve aerodynamics and optimizing the route from an unrestricted climb to cruising altitude to a descent at a constant angle with minimum engine power.

DHL said a total of 13 regulatory entities will participate in the flight, helping the crew to maintain optimal flight route and altitude, including navigating weather conditions, wind and other air traffic during the flight.

The carrier expects the flight to save about 1,000 kilograms of fuel, which will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 3,150 kilograms.

“Our ‘perfect flight’ can demonstrate a route to making air freight more efficient with the lowest possible fuel consumption and a reduction of CO2 emissions,” said Roy Hughes, executive vice president of DHL Network Operations Europe, in a statement.

“With this demonstration flight we can gain important insights for the air transport industry and contribute to the Deutsche Post DHL Group’s climate goal of net zero emissions from transportation,” he added.

Environmental experts say the global airline industry contributes about 12% of transportation-related carbon dioxide emissions.

Many of the world’s airlines have committed to aircraft emission reductions plans through new aircraft acquisitions and use of biofuels. The International Air Transport Association has set a goal to reduce industry-wide emissions 50% by 2050.

Recent changes to DHL’s existing A330-200F fleet and the purchase of 14 new Boeing 777 freighters have already led to an 18% reduction in the company’s carbon dioxide emissions. Parent company Deutsche Post DHL Group has also joined aireg and the Global Alliance Powerfuels to participate in the development of cleaner aircraft fuels.

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