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Sustainability approaches of Turkish Airlines

Article submitted by: Turkish Cargo – TIACA’s Sustainability Program Partner

Written by: Deniz Daştan, Manager, Corporate Sustainability Management

Turkish Airlines is committed to protecting the environment while carrying out all its activities, products and services. Also Turkish Airlines, which has TS EN ISO 14001 Environmental Management System certificate, conducts projects to manage environmental aspects and to minimize environmental impacts. Our Incorporation uses environmental friendly technologies while planning new investments related to the field of activity, raising its fleet and increasing the level of technological infrastructure.

Our Incorporation aims to keep the environmental impacts, to arise in both passenger and cargo transportation, at the lowest level. In line with this commitment; upon inclusion of the Boeing 777F type aircraft into the fleet of Turkish Cargo, we have achieved, 20% lower emissions, 20% lower environmental noise and 15% – 20% fuel saving, compared to the old-generation freighters equipped with similar capacity and range. Current cargo fleet is below:

B747-400F WL217,7
A310-300F WL228,4
A300-600F WL126,1


In order to increase aviation sector’s environmental sustainability, it is very important to balance the advantages of aviation growth with responsibility for climate change. One of the most important reason of this global problem that causes climate changes and changes the routine cycle of life is the greenhouse gas emissions. The aviation industry is responsible for 2% of global CO² emissions due to its current activities.

Turkish Airlines conducts projects in awareness of this problem and carries out improvements to reduce emissions caused by its activities. In this context, efforts to reduce and eliminate the factors that may have an impact on climate change are some of the studies carried out.The studies done by Turkish Airlines about fuel efficiency are; optimization of the operations, investment in new technologies and improvement of infrastructure. One way to optimize operations to ensure maximum efficiency through such procedures such as engine out taxi-in, Reduced Flap Takeoff and Reduced Flap Landing. As a result of the studies done in 2019, in the partnership, 55.492 tons of fuel-efficiency have been maintained and 174.800 tons of carbon emissions have been prevented from releasing to the atmosphere.

In order to combat climate change, the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme (CORSIA) Project for the aviation sector was launched in 2016 by ICAO. Turkey has been one of the volunteer country for the first phase of the CORSIA based on a voluntary basis, which was launched in 2019. As of June 2020, Turkish Airlines has reported its 2019 emissions and the Emission Report was verified by an Independent Verifier to send to Turkish DGCA.

Carbon markets are an effective mechanism for taking measures against climate change. Within the scope of the EU-ETS, our Incorporation monitors, reports and verifies the emissions arising from intra-European flights. In order to compensate for the emissions generated, Carbon Credit is purchased from the international carbon markets.

Other than this, Turkish Airlines calculates and monitors the greenhouse gases generated by the operations carried out its flight activities and domestic operations. Since 2016, Greenhouse gases calculated and reported by Turkish Airlines within the framework of the calculation standard of emissions and off-settings at the Establishment level have been verified by third party verification institutions.

The flag-carrier airline uses environmental friendly technologies while planning technological infrastructure as well as pursuing other environmental issues such as plastic overuse and waste reduction. Turkish Airlines adopts the vision of zero waste and develops projects to prevent waste completely, and has an award for Sustainability Politics and Support for the Zero Waste Project (Ministry of Environment and Urbanization). We implement effective waste management projects in our cargo operations, office activities and in-flight activities.

Our Incorporation reduces the amount of packaging waste with all in-flight toy and travel sets offered without outer packaging – headphones and blankets have been wrapped in biodegradable packaging since 2017. The structure of this package contains corn starch which breaks down within 100 days. A zero waste approach is applied in ground service operations of aircraft also: waste is collected separately in all working areas of Turkish Airlines and delivered to licensed recycling companies. Plastic, glass, metal and packaging wastes are separated on Turkish Airlines flights on 26 domestic and 69 international routes.

Regarding its importance to sustainability, Turkish Airlines has representatives in several significant sustainability groups in aviation such as IATA Sustainability and Environment Advisory Council, Star Alliance Sustainability Group, IATA Environmental Assessment Oversight Council, TIACA (The International Air Cargo Association) Sustainability Group, TUYID (Turkish Investor Relations Society).

As qualified as “5 Star Global Airline” by the APEX, Turkish Airlines has “Air Cargo Brand of the Year” award in 2019 by Stat Times Awards, ICN Awards, Air Cargo News Award, Logitrans. Also, Turkish Airlines received another award in 2018 from Asian Freight Logistics and Supply Chain Awards called “Best Green Airline of the Year”.

Online training contents to raise the level of awareness on environment and greenhouse gas were generated. This training is prepared to increase the level of awareness of the employees in environmental impacts arising from their working areas.

On the other hand, Turkish Airlines produces electrical energy from natural gas in the tri-generation plant and makes use of such energy to meet the electrical energy needs of cargo and head office premises.

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