Air France Moves Closer To Carbon Neutral Electric Ramp Equipment


In a press release issued on September 3, 2020, Air France says it is moving closer to obtaining carbon-neutral ramp equipment. As a part of the airline’s sustainable development policy, the carrier has given itself the target of halving its CO2 emissions per passenger kilometer by 2030. While trying to achieve this goal, the Paris-based airline is doing all it can to reduce its carbon footprint in the air and on the ground.

Air France A350-900 side view
Air France used an Airbus A350 for the electric ground equipment test. Photo: Air France

For some time now, Air France has committed itself to use all-electric ramp equipment and, on September 3, 2020, tested out all-electric equipment when handling a Paris to Delhi flight. The equipment used is made by an innovative French start-up company called CARWATT and TLD, two of the world’s leading ramp equipment manufacturers.

All the ground equipment was electric

Some of the equipment they make is certified by the Solar Impulse Foundation – of which Air France is a partner – for its ecological and economic value. When handling the Paris to Delhi flight, Air France used the following equipment:

  • A Lebrun TLD air conditioner for the aircraft’s air supply
  • A Charlatte tractor to transport luggage from the terminal to the aircraft
  • A widebody TLD loader to load the cargo onto the plane
  • A TLD widebody tug to push back the plane from its parking stand

Air France fully supports its ecosystem’s innovation to develop economically and ecologically viable solutions in its sustainable development policy.

Air France wants to use batteries

This is yet just another way that Air France is doing all it can to move away from fossil fuels in its daily operations. Launched in 2017, the partnership between Air France and CARWATT shows Air France’s commitment to transforming old thermally powered baggage carousels into electric-powered carousels with second-life Li-Ion batteries.

Air france getty images
Air France wants to use batteries to power luggage carousels. Photo: Getty Images

The Port des Champs-Élysées-headquartered company uses Air France’ss hub at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport as a testing ground for its new equipment. Air France and TLD engineers will start to test real-life self-guided aircraft approach operations with new electric loaders in the not too distant future. They will work similarly to how “park assist” works on new cars and will be used to load and unload cargo.


Air France-KLM Group are world leaders

In its statement, Air France says that by the end of 2020, nearly 60% of all the ground equipment it uses at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly will be powered by electricity. The airline hopes that this number will be as high as 90% by 2025, making it possible to save as much as 10,000 tons of CO2 emission a year. Once this is achieved, Air France will then push ahead to make its ground operations carbon neutral by 2030.

In its statement regarding the electrification of ground equipment, Air France was keen to point out that the Paris to Delhi flight was operated using an Airbus A350 aircraft, which consumes 25% less fuel than previous generation planes.

Air France-KLM
Air France and KLM are world leaders in sustainability. Photo: Getty Images

As a whole, Air France and the KLM Group have ranked first in Europe and the world in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI). Given the current technology available, we cannot see any reason other than money as to why all major airlines should not use electric ground equipment.


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