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Lufthansa Cargo Launches Regular Carbon Neutral Flight

A Boeing 777F at Paine Field. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Bailey)

Lufthansa Cargo, the cargo arm of German flag carrier Lufthansa, and DB Schenker, one of the world’s leading logistics providers, have announced the launch of the first regular carbon-neutral cargo flight. The announcement follows the first carbon-neutral freighter flights operated by the two companies in November 2020.

The carbon-neutral cargo flight operates between Frankfurt, Germany and Shanghai, China. The flight launched April 1 using one of Lufthansa Cargo’s Boeing 777F aircraft.

Representatives of both Lufthansa Cargo and DB Schenker said the flight was a success and said they looked forward to where the flight could lead in the future.

“With the world’s first sustainable cargo flight with DB Schenker at the end of 2020, we demonstrated that flying without fossil emissions is already possible. Today, we jointly launched the world’s first regular sustainable cargo flight connection. This paves the way for many more connections of this kind. We are counting on the determination of our industry and the dedication consumers to get this off the ground together,” said Lufthansa Cargo Chief Executive Officer Dorothea von Boxberg.

DB Schenker CEO Jochen Thewes touted the flight as the first in a line of many.

“As of now, carbon-neutral supply chains are also feasible with air freight. Our weekly flights between Frankfurt and Shanghai are the kickoff of a new era. We are proud to have already convinced so many customers of this future-oriented product. Next, business and politics have to take charge to create more capacity for regenerative fuels and clean aviation,” Thewes said.

The flight achieves its carbon-neutral status through the use of sustainable aviation fuel. Sustainable aviation fuel is manufactured from sustainable resources including biomass waste such as used vegetable and cooking oils. Despite bigger plans going forward, sustainable aviation fuel cannot currently be used exclusively to fuel an aircraft. It must be blended with traditional jet fuel.

Additionally, sustainable aviation fuel is currently approximately three times more expensive than traditional jet fuel, meaning it is an infeasible solution for most airlines worldwide as they work to bolster their bottom lines in 2021 and beyond.

According to Lufthansa Cargo and DB Schenker, the carbon-neutral flight will save 174 metric tons of traditional jet fuel each week. Throughout Lufthansa Cargo’s entire summer schedule, the pair will achieve a total of greenhouse gas neutrality of 20,250 metric tons.

Jordan Green


  • Jordan Green

    Jordan joined the AG team in 2018 after attending AAviationDay in Philadelphia. He is actively pursuing his private pilot certificate and has been an aviation enthusiast since childhood. An attorney by trade, Jordan jokingly refers to himself as a “recovering litigator” and now focuses on subcontracts management. Jordan focuses his writing on innovations in commercial aviation, aviation history, and other interesting topics he feels are worthy of discussion in the community.

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