Optimizing air transport efficiency

Deutsche Post DHL Group is one of the world’s leading providers of international express services. With our fleet of over 250 dedicated aircraftDedicated aircraft refer to planes in which Deutsche Post DHL Group’s capacity utilization is 100% and whose routes and schedules are determined by the Group. Deutsche Post DHL Group also uses non-dedicated aircraft, i.e. aircraft in which it utilizes only a share of total load capacity. comprised of 190 cargo planes and a number of smaller feeder aircraft, we serve approximately 500 airports worldwide via 19 main regional hubs and three global hubs in Leipzig, Cincinnati and Hong Kong.

In the reporting year we again recorded growth in transport volumes; this resulted in increased kerosene consumption within our own fleet despite continued progress in route and network optimization. At 1,333 million kilograms, kerosene consumption in 2016 was slightly higher than the previous year. The greenhouse gas emissions from our air transport operations amounted to 4.23 tonnes of CO2e in 2016, accounting for approximately 70% of our direct greenhouse gas emissions (GHG Protocol, scopes 1 and 2The GHG Protocol (“A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard, revised edition”) categorizes greenhouse gases in three groups referred to as “scopes.” The classification into scopes 1, 2 or 3 is based on the source of the emissions.
• Scope 1: Direct greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the company’s own business activities.
• Scope 2: Indirect greenhouse gas emissions generated by the production of electricity, district heating and cooling.
• Scope 3: Other indirect greenhouse gas emissions.
). Air transport is also a significant source of the local air pollutant sulfur dioxide (SO2).

Modernizing aircraft

Air transport poses special challenges due to comparably high fuel consumption and emissions. We respond to these challenges with our “burn less” approach, which means continually investing in quieter and more efficient aircraft.

Aircraft by emissions class

Aircraft by emissions class

In the reporting year we added additional Boeing 757 aircraft to our fleet after deploying the first tranche in 2015. These offer increased loading capacity, improved technology and are significantly more efficient than previous models. These aircraft are not only more environmentally-friendly, but also require fewer repairs and provide improved working conditions for flight personnel.

In the reporting year we also signed an agreement to convert four Airbus A330-300 from passenger to cargo aircraft. The converted aircraft will feature cargo capacity in the mid to high range, offering extra flexibility and increased fuel efficiency per kilo of air cargo.

In keeping with our “burn clean” approach, we also support the use of alternative aviation fuels. However, at present not enough is known about how these fuels impact air operations and the environment, ruling out their large-scale deployment. We are currently working together with other companies as part of the Aviation Initiative for Renewable Energy in Germany e.V. (aireg) to improve the viability of such alternative aviation fuels. In the reporting year, as part of the research partnership project airegEM, we measured alternative fuel emissions through a series of ground-based engine tests and then simulated emissions for our fleet using representative flight profiles. This allowed us to gain additional insight into biofuels and how they would impact the environmental performance of our air fleet.

Aircraft by noise standards

Aircraft by noise standards

Reducing noise pollution is another goal of our air fleet modernization efforts. Today, more than two-thirds of our fleet already meets the highest noise standards prescribed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)Guidelines to limit noise from civil aircraft issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization. Aircraft are attributed noise limits which are based on engine power; these noise limits are organized in chapters..

We are also involved in local noise abatement initiatives such as a pilot project carried out by the Leipzig/Halle airport to explore alternative landing procedures. It involves combining the Point Merge procedure and the Continuous Descent ApproachAn alternate airport approach procedure in which the aircraft approach the runway at a constant rate of descent. CDA is initiated while an aircraft is still at cruising altitude. Since it involves temporarily idling the engines, CDA can help to reduce noise and conserve fuel. However, these benefits are offset by higher safety requirements for the airports. CDA is being tested in combination with the Point Merge procedure at the Leipzig/Halle airport in Germany. as a possible measure for reducing local noise pollution.