AMSTERDAM, 14 September 2023: From pioneering autonomous decarbonized baggage trucks to using Bluetooth technology to cut single-use plastic waste from in-flight entertainment headphones, the second Sustainable Flight Challenge by global airline alliance, SkyTeam, has generated more than 500 submissions to help drive a greener future for air travel. Winners of the 26 sub-categories have been decided by a panel of sustainability, innovation and aviation experts, including the Dutch Aerospace Center (NLR) and PA Consulting. Now, finalists are pitching their ideas to a globally diverse judging panel of industry and sustainability leaders to determine this year’s winners of the Challenge’s seven awards.
The Sustainable Flight Challenge (TSFC), the first industry sustainability initiative of its kind, was launched by SkyTeam in 2022. This year’s Challenge was even bigger than the first and included SkyTeam ‘friends and family’ airlines in addition to SkyTeam members. In total 22 airlines participated, operating 72 round-trip short-, medium- and long-haul flights – an increase of 38% and 227% respectively versus the previous year. Overall, this year’s TSFC resulted in an average improvement of 19% in CO2 intensity compared to the same flights operated the previous month.
"Thanks to the energy, enthusiasm and creativity of the more than 2,000 airline employees involved, this year’s TSFC eliminated 30 tons of CO2 emissions during the two-weeks of the Challenge. When it comes to operating more responsibly, The Sustainable Flight Challenge demonstrates how even small changes add up to make a big difference when we work together.”
Airlines shortlisted for the seven TSFC main award categories are:
The judging panel is currently evaluating all subcategory winners’ efforts to decide the overall champions of the seven TSFC awards. Airlines selected as ‘wildcards’ – those with an overall strong performance, but not shortlisted – will pitch their ideas directly to the judges, along with those shortlisted for the Best Innovation, Best Adoption and Best Collaboration categories. Winners will be announced at a special TSFC event held at Delta’s hub in Atlanta in October.
SkyTeam is dedicated to powering a seamless, more sustainable customer journey, with all members working together to connect millions of passengers across an extensive global network of 1,000+ destinations. The members are Aeroflot (suspended), Aerolíneas Argentinas, Aeromexico, Air Europa, Air France, China Airlines, China Eastern, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Garuda Indonesia, ITA Airways, Kenya Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, Middle East Airlines, Saudia, TAROM, Vietnam Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and XiamenAir.
About the Sustainable Flight Challenge
The Sustainable Flight Challenge (TSFC) exists to challenge the aviation industry by stimulating and accelerating innovation towards a more sustainable future. TSFC was first presented in 2022 by SkyTeam, a leading airline alliance with member carriers around the world. This year’s challenge took place between 15 May – 28 May 2023 in which 22 participating airlines implemented their most sustainable solutions and compete for awards in 32 categories. This challenge - including flight and ground operations - is another step in the aviation industry’s path towards a more sustainable future.
Meet the jury
The Sustainable Flight Challenge’s diverse jury comprises global sustainability and aviation industry leaders who are donating their time and expertise to help bring forward the future of greener air transportation. The jury members are:
Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a director of MIT’s Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment. Leading the institute’s Electric Aircraft Initiative, Steven’s research is focused on helping aviation achieve zero environmental impact. This includes developing low emission and noise propulsion technologies, evaluating the sustainability of biofuels and electric aircraft and improving scientific understanding of aircraft pollution’s impact on the atmosphere.
Former Secretary General, ICAO
Former Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), where she served two consecutive terms, Fang was also Director of ICAO’s Bureau of Administration and Services. With a PhD in International Law from Wuhan University in China and a Master’s in Air and Space Law from Leiden University in the Netherlands, Fang has published articles and delivers lectures on international air transport regulation and law.
Former COO, Airbus
Formerly Chief Operating Officer at Airbus, Tom began his aviation career as an apprentice at Rolls Royce Aero Engines, before moving through the ranks at Marconi, Cummins Engines, Pilkington Optronics and British Aerospace Regional Aircraft. During his time at Airbus, the company introduced new fleet types including the A400M, A350 and A350NEO. Tom has been honored with a British CBE and French Legion d’Honneur for his achievements in aviation.
Founder & CEO | Goodr
Award-winning social entrepreneur, children’s author and one of Insider’s 100 People Transforming Business, Jasmine is founder and CEO of Goodr, which she created after feeding people experiencing homelessness from her own kitchen. Under Jasmine’s leadership, this sustainable waste management company has provided over 30 million meals to those in need and redirected millions of pounds of materials from landfill by leveraging technology to combat hunger and food waste.
MENA Voluntary Carbon Market
CEO of the Voluntary Carbon Market Company (VCMC), Riham has over 20 years’ international experience of impact-related investment and a track record in executing clean technology and renewable energy transactions across the globe. In her role at the helm of the VCMC, Riham launched the first voluntary carbon market in the MENA region and led the single largest voluntary carbon market auction to ever take place.
MENA Voluntary Carbon Market
Social entrepreneur, tech enthusiast and one of Forbes India’s 30 Under 30, when he was 16, Udit founded Glass2Sand, a zero-waste initiative that diverts glass from landfill to address its impact on the environment. Currently studying Management Science at University College London, Udit is the youngest person - and only Indian national – to be appointed to the United Nations’ Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals.
African Civil Aviation Commission
IATA’s Regional Director, Advocacy & Strategic Relations for Africa and one of the United Nations’ 200 Most Influential People of African Descent, Adefunke is a lawyer, advocate and global aviation expert. In her current role, Adefunke advocates for the sustainability and growth of aviation across the region, highlighting its value to economies and societies as an enabler and catalyst for development and as a force for social good.
Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy
Deputy CEO of Taiwan’s Institute for Sustainable Energy (TAISE), Jackie is also Deputy Secretary General at Taiwan’s Center for Corporate Sustainability (TCCS), promoting corporate sustainability strategies to businesses across Taiwan and Asia Pacific. With a background in both environmental engineering and resource management, Jackie is also an adjunct assistant professor at Fu Jen Catholic University and advisor for the Taiwan Net Zero Emissions Association.