Nippon Cargo Airlines(NCA) as a strategic specialist of transporting cargo, we make full use of the abundant experience and know-how we have acquired over the years.

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Nippon Cargo Airlines

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Home > About Us > Corporate Social Responsibility > Environment Activities > Reduction of CO2 emitted by aircraft

Corporate Social Responsibility

NCA's Activities for Environmental Conservation

Reduction of CO2 Emitted by Aircraft

Aircraft consume large quantity of CO2 during operation, which occupies most part of green house gas causing global warming. However, there is no fuel appropriate for aircraft operation other than fossil fuel under existing circumstances. NCA is making consistent efforts for efficient cargo transportation by using fuel effectively to the utmost extent to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emission.

The following graph shows the trend of CO2 emission per revenue ton kilometer*1. NCA started introduction of B747-400 Freighter since 2005 as the successor aircraft to B747-200 Freighter and renewed all aircraft in 2008. After 2012, NCA began to receive the latest, B747-8F Freighter, and that contributed for reduction of CO2 emission by about 3% in the fiscal year(FY) 2014 in comparison with FY2013 even though 17% growth of revenue ton kilometer. In addition, about 32% reduction has been achieved in comparison with FY 2004 when NCA still operated B747-200 Freighter.

Transition of RTK and CO2 emissions

※1 RTK Revenue Ton-Kilometers 
A traffic statics results cargo metric ton carried kilometer. 1 ton-kilometer means carrying 1 metric ton of cargo for 1 kilometer.
Revenue Ton-Kilometers is all ton-kilometers except non-revenue cargo such as disaster relief shipment

1. Introduction of Next Generation Aircraft and Engines

Introduction of Next-Generation Aircraft

Introduction of next-generation aircraft

NCA has ordered state-of-the-art B747-8 Freighter as the successor aircraft of currently-used B747-400 Freighter ahead of any other world air carriers. This aircraft has superior performance in "cargo capacity" and "flying range" in comparison with currently-used B747-400 Freighter, and at the same time, it is an environment-friendly aircraft with high level quietness and low level CO2 emission equipped with GEnx engines manufactured by GE (General Electric).

An illustrated comparison of CO2 emissions by aircraft & comments
CO2 Emissions Comparison Chart Noise Level Emissions Comparison Chart

Bio Jet Fuel
Improvement of descent and approach to the airport

In August 2012, taking the opportunity of delivering from Boeing company, NCA flew B747-8 Freighter using eco-friendly next generation fuel (adding 15% bio jet fuel made from waste edible oil to current jet fuel).
Bio jet fuel extremely contributes for reduction of CO2 ,therefore NCA has actively taken part in several studies among industry, government and academia since 2014.


2. Reduction of Flying Weight and Activities on the Ground

Introduction of Lightweight Unit Load Device (ULD)
Airlines use ULD which is made of metallic material for cargo loading to the aircraft. For the purpose of reducing total loading weight,  NCA has introduced lightweight ULD so called "pallet" with designated vendor after carefully checking its durability . The new lightweight pallet has achieved 9kg weight saving.(about 8% weight reduction in comparison with the conventional pallet). NCA estimates annual saving 47ton of fuel consumption and reduction 145ton of CO2 using this new lightweight ULD.

※1 ULD (Unit Loaded Device)
ULD (Unit Load Device) is general term of box shaped and plane pallet for cargo loading unit. NCA has wide ranged valuation of ULD including lightweight pallet for customers traffic needs.

Link : Home > Service > Aircarct and Unit > ULD (Unit Load Device)

Engine Internal Washing
Engine internal washing

As aircraft accumulates operations, engine compressor, which sends air to the combustor, becomes dirty because dust and dirt adhere to it. As a result, engine combustion efficiency deteriorates and the engine consumes more fuel. Therefore, NCA conducts engine internal washing using hot water to remove contamination. This recovers engine combustion efficiency, improves fuel consumption rate, and reduces CO2 emission. In addition, efficient combustion reduces burden to the engine and consequently reduces maintenance works such as parts replacement.

Positive Use of GPU (Ground Power Unit) During Parking
Positive use of GPU (Ground Power Unit) during parking

Aircraft uses electric power generated by the engine-driven AC generators during flight. But aircraft needs electric power for cabin lighting, etc. even after arriving at the airport and engine shutdown. Aircraft is equipped with auxiliary power unit called APU and uses this APU to supply electric power for cabin lighting and air conditioning when its engines are shut down at the airport. However, APU uses jet fuel on this occasion. So, if electric power is supplied to the aircraft from the ground power unit called GPU, it is possible to reduce jet fuel consumption and hence to reduce CO2 emission and noise. With that, NCA uses GPU positively.

※1 APU (Auxiliary Power Unit)
APU refers to the auxiliary power unit used for not only starting aircraft engines but also the power source of the air conditioning system and electrical system. As it operates using jet fuel, its energy efficiency is less than that of GPU.
If APU operation time is reduced by one hour, fuel consumption will be reduced by about 1.5 drums (300litter) and CO2 emission will be reduced by about 0.7ton.

※2 GPU (Ground Power Unit)
GPU refers to the facility to supply air conditioning and electric power to the aircraft on the ground. There are two types of GPU, one is mobile type (in-vehicle type) and the other is fixed type.


3. Efficient Flight Operation

Operation on the Optimum Routes Using RNAV (Area Navigation)

As conventional airways and routes between airports were built by connecting ground navigation aids to the destination, they often became polygonal lines and hence were rather inefficient. On the other hand, RNAV can build routes connected any points with almost straight line by confirming aircraft position by means of Global Positioning System (GPS) and Inertia Navigation System, etc. in addition to radio navigation aids on the routes. This enables building of efficient route to the destination and double-track route, leading to reduction of fuel consumption and CO2 emission through shortened flight time and distance.


Improvement of Descent and Approach to the Airport
Improvement of descent and approach to the airport

Delayed flap/gear approach procedure is one of the operation procedures devised for reduction of aircraft noise under approach path to the airport. This procedure is to minimize engine thrust during approach through reduction of aircraft's air drag by delaying the timing of flap and gear (wheel) extension compared to normal operation if stabilized approach is possible when landing at the airport. This leads to not only noise reduction but also reduction of fuel consumption and CO2 emission.


New Flight Routes

Flight routes are settled by limitation of nation, regional area and other restriction. NCA always investigates looking for shortest route to the destination with consideration those limitation and restriction. In 2014, NCA added new route on long haul of European service and has flown on UPR (User Preferred Route) avoiding jet stream (against wind)on U.S. service, then saved 214ton of fuel and reduced 660ton of CO2.


Optimization of Center of Gravity of Aircraft
Improvement of descent and approach to the airport

NCA loads maximum 34 ULDs in the main deck cargo compartment which is used for passenger's seats on passenger aircraft and maximum 32 ULDs in lower deck of B747-8 Freighter. Each ULD has different weight in result of loading customers' various cargo. Center of gravity of aircraft affects consumption of fuel. Therefore NCA optimizes center of gravity of aircraft for the purpose of fuel saving. In 2014, NCA estimates annual saving of 151ton fuel and reducing 446ton of CO2.