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Lufthansa’s breadth and depth of environmental efforts across the entire company made it stand out as this year’s Eco-Airline Gold winner. The airline’s dedication to fuel-efficiency, which is achieved through an ongoing investment in fleet modernization, including adding the Airbus A380 and new Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental to the fleet, and the development of a more effective flight-route planning solution; humanitarian relief that provides aid to communities struck by natural disasters and supports protection of endangered species; and vital umbrella support from senior-level management via Lufthansa’s cross-departmental Sustainability Board, caught the editors’ attention. Also noteworthy was Lufthansa’s long-term research program conducted through the latter half of 2011 in which it assigned an Airbus A321 to fly routine, eight-times daily scheduled flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt using biofuel in one of its two engines. The burnFAIR project demonstrated that fuel burn was slightly less than with conventional jet fuel, but even more importantly established the principle of biofuel’s technological suitability for routine airline operations.
“Lufthansa’s comprehensive environmental and sustainability efforts touch nearly every corner of the airline, and in many cases influence the entire industry. For example, the unprecedented long-term biofuel study that Lufthansa concluded in January will no doubt benefit the entire industry,” ATW Executive Editor Karen Walker said.
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