Environment 91 Stories

Every gram counts

Published

27th Jun, 2019

In the air every gram counts. One way to reduce CO2 emissions is reducing on board weight. Every gram extra needs more fuel and thus results in extra CO2 emissions. Therefore, KLM is constantly looking for lighter alternatives of all items on board.

The cabin

From the coffee-pots to the catering trolleys, many small but altogether major changes have been made in the in-flight catering products. We introduced full-size and half-size trolleys that are 8kg and 5kg lighter respectively and require less maintenance. Furthermore, all catering items have been redesigned to weigh less. For example the drink cups now weigh 70% less than before. Also meal trays and cutlery are reduced in size, not only to save weight but also to save material use and to reduce waste.

The cockpit

Another example is replacing paper by digital tools, for crew and passengers. By using iPads instead of printed flight plans, the cockpit contributes to weight reduction too. The benefit of pilots now using iPads is not only weight reduction, but it also contributes to saving thousands of sheets of paper and it is easier to work with!

The belly

Together with suppliers, KLM tests and develops new innovative materials such as light weight cargo nets. In 2013, Air France-KLM-Martinair Cargo introduced new, light weight cargo nets that are 50% (9 kg) lighter than its predecessors. The development of this special product is the result of a partnership with AmSafe Bridport and DSM. This light weight net not only helps to reduce CO2 emission but also makes working with them easier. In addition, the nets have a life span of five instead of three years, resulting in less waste. Next to cargo nets, also pallets and containers are lighter in weight.

The outside of the aircraft

Not only can the items on board be designed to weigh less, but also the aircraft itself. KLM Engineering & Maintenance has been working with the German supplier Mankiewicz to develop a sustainable paint system. It is, in fact, very simple: 15% less paint is needed if it is applied in more, but thinner layers. The paint is also chrome-free and easily washable. The aircraft can largely be degreased simply using soap and water, which considerably reduces the amount of damaging solvents that are required.

On screen

The video on weight reduction is one of a series of videos on sustainability, and shows some of the abovementioned examples.

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