Kuehne Nagel, IAG Cargo complete first net zero carbon charter chain

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Kuehne+Nagel and IAG Cargo, the cargo division of International Airlines Group, completed a chain of 16 charter flights from Stuttgart to Atlanta fully carbon neutral after securing initial 1.2 million litres of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). This collaboration marks the first time ever that such a charter chain is operated with net zero carbon emissions. The entire project utilised aircraft primarily suited for passenger travel, but temporarily operated in support of cargo.

The last of the British Airways B787-900 flights left Stuttgart on June 26 with an average of 45 tonnes of automotive spares and other industrial goods from shippers destined for Atlanta. Since it began its charter service last year, Kuehne+Nagel has now completed more than 300 charters - all carbon neutral either via offsetting or use of alternative fuel.

As SAF still produces some CO2 emissions, complete carbon neutrality was achieved by substituting each litre of jet fuel kerosene used with 1.25 litres of SAF. Offering this solution from Stuttgart airport, the initiative highlights the importance of joint efforts for making sustainable transportation choices and possibilities available at close-by airports to local and global industry players avoiding further emissions through trucking goods into major hubs.

Answering growing customer demand for environmentally friendly logistics, Kuehne+Nagel is proactively expanding its sustainable services portfolio with innovative and easily customised shipping options. The overall commitment so far of 12.7M litres of SAF allows Kuehne+Nagel customers to benefit from immediately available alternative fuel solutions to avoid CO2 emissions of their air freight globally.

Yngve Ruud, member of the management board of Kuehne+Nagel, responsible for air logistics, commented, "Climate change has now given new urgency to the search for clean, renewable fuels as they are currently the most effective measure to achieve true decarbonisation in our industry. Kuehne+Nagel is committed to increase its supply of SAF as part of our ambitious Net Zero Carbon programme. Our work with our suppliers is critical here, with trusted partners like IAG Cargo playing a vital role in the attainment of our goals by fostering deployment of sustainable fuels so our like-minded customers can ship their products CO2 neutral in an easy and transparent way." 

John Cheetham, chief commercial officer at IAG Cargo, commented, "International Airlines Group was the first European airline group to commit to powering 10 per cent of its flights with sustainable fuel by 2030. These charters mark IAG Cargo’s first step on that journey – I’m incredibly proud of our commitment to long-term sustainability, helping to reduce carbon footprint overall. 

"We are constantly looking at ways which reduce our impact on the environment whilst improving our customer offering and we were delighted to support Kuehne+Nagel with sourcing this SAF to power these landmark charters, the first of many." 

SAF is currently the most effective measure to significantly reduce the environmental footprint of shipping. In contrast to fossil fuels, which are exhaustible resources and release additional CO2 emissions, SAF`s are produced from renewable feedstock and have a circular carbon lifecycle aimed at re-using waste or biomass and emissions produced.

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