In the first year, the airline operates the Karlsruhe-Berlin route and is expecting around 60-90,000 passengers.
The focus is on business people from companies who are committed to sustainability.
Green, regional and ecologically responsible – that’s what the new airline start-up Green Airlines wants to be. At first glance, this sounds paradoxical: Can an airline be “green”? The Daniel Sander and Stefan Auwetter venture has another paradoxical dimension: can an airline be reestablished while all airlines around the world have grounded their planes almost 100 percent, i.e. left them on the ground?
Daniel Sander answers the latter as follows: The first flight was planned for October 31 and the feeling at the moment was that this time was not an issue – also because Green Airlines only wanted to offer domestic German flights in the first year.
The first line should be the route Karlsruhe (Karlsruhe-Baden-Baden FKB airport) and Berlin (BER). Up to 64 passengers per route can then fly between the two cities three times a week; Sunday evening there should be a feeder for the weekend commuters. Further connections are planned with the airports Hamburg (HAM), Paderborn (PAD), Zurich (ZRH) and Vienna (VIE). Since the airline focuses on business people, the founders consciously seek proximity to industry.
The project is most comparable with Lufthansa Cityline, a Lufthansa Group company that focuses on regional and feeder flights. The smallest aircraft in the Cityline fleet, a Bombardier CRJ900, has space for 90 passengers.
Green Airlines flies with an ATR72-500, an aircraft of the Italian-French manufacturer Avions de Transport Régional (ATR), which has space for 64 passengers. The aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance are leased from a Danish airline in the Green Airlines business model – Sander and his team then take care of sales, marketing and route planning.
The aircraft type is chosen in the sense of the ecologically responsible mission. Sander even wants to beat the car’s carbon footprint – the machine has “the lowest CO2 consumption per 100 passenger kilometers in a direct comparison with cars and trains”.
A look at the online portal of the non-profit organization atmosfair shows at least that a person who flies with the airplane type CRJ900 used by Cityline consumes 121 kg CO2 on the route Karlsruhe – Berlin; with the Green Airlines plane, on the other hand, 42 kg of CO2, a good two thirds less.
In spite of everything, there remains a not inconsiderable emission of environmentally harmful CO2 when flying – this is where Green Airlines wants to start with compensation. The ticket price, which is said to be between 119 and 649 euros, includes a sum of two to three euros that Sander and Auwetter are investing as a lump sum in green projects within Germany. For example, the two want to buy a piece of forest in Schleswig-Holstein and use it to reforest there. “That means: Even before we start with the first flight, we are positive about the climate – namely when we open the booking platforms and generate funds,” says Sander in an interview with NewsABC.net.
Isn’t that just a good sounding, but ultimately little useful shift in CO2? Sander had an exchange with forest experts: “They told me that an 80-year-old tree can only absorb very little CO2; it picks up the most during the growth phase and by planting trees we can emit a high proportion of CO2 ”. Sander is convinced of the green “mandatory fee” in the ticket price. Other airlines offer their customers voluntary CO2 offsets, but how many use this offer remains questionable, says Sander.
On the subject of other airlines – what does Sander think Lufthansa head Carsten Spohr will think when he reads this article? “I think he will smile once and say: Such nonsense! – it is positive for us, hopefully in two years he will remember having heard something from us … ”
At the start of flight operations, Green Airlines is currently collecting money via crowdfunding; the goal is 600,000 euros, at the moment (mid-May) the progress is around 60,000 euros. Sander and his team also bring equity capital. Their calculation expects sales of around 13 million euros in the first year.
Green Airlines wants to act green in these areas:
The catering should be designed to be neutral in terms of resources, for example by making the cutlery from wood from their own forests and using it several times.
The airline not only wants to connect regions in Germany, but also to promote the regions by sourcing the catering from regional farmers (for example, juices from local orchards and cheese from farmers).
Cooperation with local transport and car sharing
The environmentally friendly arrival and departure should be included in the ticket price through cooperation with local transport companies and car sharing providers.
New working models
The operation of the office in Karlsruhe should also be kept lean thanks to new working models such as home office, the CO2-neutral operation of IT and the use of digital processes instead of paper printouts.