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Lufthansa sees CSeries fuel burn per passenger bettering A380, 747-8

posted Jul 20, 2010, 7:04 AM by Rowan Hewitt   [ updated Jul 20, 2010, 7:05 AM ]

By Geoffrey Thomas | July 15, 2010

Lufthansa believes that the 747-8, which will enter service late next year, will have almost the same fuel burn per passenger as the A380 on LH’s typical missions while the CSeries will outperform both.

“These are numbers on our load factors, on our network and in our configurations," Senior VP-Corporate Fleet Nico Buchholz told attendees at ATW’s Eco-Aviation Conference in Washington last month. He said the 747-8 will have a fuel burn of 3.51 liters per passenger per 100 km. while the A380 with Rolls-Royce engines, which LH also has ordered, will achieve a burn of 3.4 litersand the CSeries powered by the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G will burn just 3.1 liters on the same basis.

Lufthansa has more than €13 billion of aircraft on order but will not be ordering any A350s and 787s until next year, Buchholz told ATW's Eco-Aviation Today. “The majority of leverage into LH’s business case to acquire a new aircraft type is in the concept phase and this means being proactive as an airline early in the life cycle to gain the most ecological and economical benefit,” he said. Discussing the complexity of fleet decisions, he said there are many challenges to getting the balance right: “Homogeneous fleet versus operational flexibility, economies of scale versus product differentiation, fleet commonality versus risk mitigation/spread, and innovative aircraft versus low capital expenditure.”

He also urged perspective on the climate change issue, highlighting a Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency 2007 report that claimed China’s 720-million-ton increase in CO2 emissions from 2005 to 2006 is greater than the total global CO2 emissions for aviation within the same time period. He added, “Cement production alone in China causes 550 million tons of CO2–which corresponds to about 80% of global aviation emissions.”

At the same time, Buchholz took aim at the airspace infrastructure in Europe. “The Single European Sky has been discussed for 50 years. We have 47 civil and military air services providers…Detours in 2007 resulted in an extra 468 million kilometers of distance wasting 5.4 million liters of fuel every day.” He cited the Paris-Munich route, which is 680 km. on a direct track: “The current route we use due to airspace restrictions is 910 km.” He added that on average, "airway distance increase due to restrictions is 15% for European flights and 4% longer for intercontinental flights.”

Despite the complexity of problems, Lufthansa has reduced its fuel usage per passenger by 30.1% since 1991 from 6.2 liters per passenger per 100 km. to 4.3. According to Buchholz, the 4.3-liter figure equates to 13 kg. of CO2 per 100 km., which equals the EU target for cars to achieve by 2015 of 13 kg. CO2/100 km. “Carried through operational improvements and fleet modernization, almost half of the growth since 1991 was CO2 neutral despite increasing airport congestion and holding patterns,” he told attendees