Sustainability and sustainable aviation are becoming increasingly essential for airlines. But which airlines are taking the topic seriously? We gathered data and analyzed the world’s top 15 environment-friendly airlines.
Sustainable Aviation: A Dominating Topic for Airlines!
Although Corona is the dominating topic at the moment, the importance of environmental-friendly flights hasn’t vanished. On the contrary, eco-friendly operations are on their way to becoming a key differentiator, especially since there’s an increasing demand from passengers.
Therefore, many airlines —at least before Corona— initiated large programs and dedicated large budgets to becoming more sustainable. The usage of sustainable fuel, the introduction of new aircraft, or efficient processes are just a few examples.
However, we wanted to know the details. Therefore we gathered and analyzed data. One of the key data sources we used is the atmosfair Airline Index.
Sustainable Aviation and Environment-Friendly Airlines — Overview
In case you want to directly jump to a certain part of the ranking, here are your links:
- Top 15 Environment-Friendly Airlines
- Top 10 Environment-Friendly Airlines
- Top 5 Environment-Friendly Airlines
- Top 3 Environment-Friendly Airlines
Sustainable Aviation: Here are the Top 15 Environment-Friendly Airlines
#15 — Beijing Capital Airlines
China’s Beijing Capital Airlines kicks off the list of the top 15 environment-friendly airlines. Based on a possible efficiency score of 100, Beijing Capital Airlines achieves an overall result of 69.8. However, there’s no difference between Beijing Capital’s short-haul and medium-haul flights in terms of sustainability.
Beijing Capital Airlines is a Chinese low-cost airline based in Beijing Daxing International Airport. The airline is a subsidiary of the Hainan Airline Group. Currently, Beijing Capital Airline operates a fleet of 85 aircraft. The fleet consists of Airbus A319, A320, A321, and A330. Beijing Capital Airlines mainly focuses on domestic routes and offers flights to 65 destinations.
#14 — Vietnam Airlines
We continue the sustainable aviation ranking with rank 14, where we find another Asian carrier. Vietnam’s flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines, achieves an excellent efficiency score of 70.4 out of 100. The carrier shows outstanding performance on long-haul flights. Nevertheless, its sustainable performance on short-haul cannot keep up with long-haul flights.
Headquartered in Hanoi, Vietnam Airlines is the flag carrier of Vietnam. The airline operates a fleet of more than 100 aircraft and flies to some 60 destinations in 17 countries. Vietnam Airline’s fleet mainly consists of Airbus A321 and A350 completed with some Boeing B787. The airline is a member of the SkyTeam airline alliance.
#13 — Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand is the next airline that seems to take sustainable aviation seriously. New Zealand’s flag carrier achieved an overall efficiency score of 70.5 and rank 13th among the list of environmental-friendly airlines. On a detailed level, the airline achieves outstanding results on short- and medium-haul flights. Long-haul flights seem to hold some room for improvement for Air New Zealand.
Headquartered in Auckland, Air New Zealand is New Zealand’s flag carrier. Air New Zealand operates a fleet of 116 aircraft and flies to 50 destinations. The carrier’s fleet consists of Airbus A320-200, A320neo, A321neo, ATR, Boeing B777, and B787, plus some Bombardier Q300. Air New Zealand has 10,000 employees and carried approximately 16 million passengers in 2018.
#12 — Air Europa
At rank 12, we have the first European airlines among the list of the most environment-friendly airlines. With 70.7., Spain’s Air Europa scores a slightly better result than Air New Zealand. Air Europa shows a strong performance, especially on medium-haul flights (800-3,800 km). However, short-haul and long-haul are also solid in terms of sustainability.
Air Europa is the third-largest Spanish airline after Iberia, as its subsidiary, and Vueling. The airline is headquartered in Llucmajor, Mallorca, Spain, and has its main hub at Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport. The airline operates 36 aircraft to 45 destinations in Europe, North America, and South America. Air Europa’s fleet consists of Boeing B737 and B787.
#11 — Jet2.com
With 70.8, jet2 achieved only slightly better results than Air Europa and can be proud to be the world’s 11th most sustainable airline. Contrary to Air Europa, jet2 achieves its best results on long-haul flights (>3,800km). Short-haul flights (<800km) seem to hold some room for improvement.
Jet2.com, also known as Jet2, is a British low-cost leisure airline offering scheduled and charter flights from the United Kingdom. As of 2019, it is the third-largest scheduled airline in the UK, behind EasyJet and British Airways. The airline operates a fleet of 92 aircraft and flies to some 80 destinations. jet2’s fleet mainly consists of Boeing B737-800, accomplished with a few B737-300, B757, and 1 Airbus A321.
Sustainable Aviation: Here are the Top 10 Environment-Friendly Airlines
#10 — Juneyao Air
We enter the top 10 of the most environment-friendly airlines with a carrier that might not everyone knows. Juneyao Air is a Shanghai-based airline that performs regional and medium-haul flights. Nevertheless, and based on a very modern fleet, Juneyao Air achieves strong results regarding sustainability and can call itself the world’s 10th most environment-friendly airline.
Juneyao Air is a carrier based in Shanghai, operating domestic and international services from two airports (Shanghai Hongqiao and Shanghai Pudong). The airline operates a fleet of 79 aircraft and flies to 70 destinations. The fleet consists of Airbus A320-200, A320neo, A321-200, A320neo, and Boeing 787-9.
On rank 9 of sustainable players in the aviation industry, we’re heading back to Europe. Germany’s charter carrier Condor is almost one efficiency score better the Juneyao ranked 9th. Especially on medium-haul flights (800-3,800km), Condor shows a very environment-friendly operation. Short-haul flights (<800km) are below average. However, since the airline does not operate many short-haul flights, it doesn’t play a big role in the overall calculation.
Condor is a German charter airline based in Frankfurt. It operates scheduled flights to leisure destinations in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, South Asia, and North America. Its main base is at Frankfurt Airport, with further smaller bases at other German airports. The airline operates a fleet of 54 aircraft and flies to some 80 destinations. Condor’s fleet consists of Airbus A320-200, A321-200, Boeing B757-300, and B767-300ER.
#8 — Air Europa Express
At position eight, we Air Europa Express — an airline that solely performs short-haul flights (<800km). Nevertheless, the carrier operates those flights on an excellent environment-friendly base.
Air Europa Express is a Spanish regional low-cost airline. It is a subsidiary of Globalia (which is also the parent company of Air Europa). The airline is set to operate regional routes for Air Europa. The carrier is a member of the SkyTeam airline alliance and operates a fleet of 19 aircraft. Its fleet consists of ATR-72 and Embraer 195.
#7 — Thomas Cook Airlines
At position seven, we have an airline that is no longer active in 2021. However, since the airline was active when the ranking was prepared, we decided to include them. In terms of environment-friendliness, Thomas Cook Airlines showed exceptional performance on medium-haul flights.
Thomas Cook Airlines Limited was a British charter and scheduled airline headquartered in Manchester, England. It was founded in 2007 from the Thomas Cook Group and MyTravel Group merger and was part of the Thomas Cook Group Airlines. At its closure at the end of 2019, the airline operated 34 aircraft and flights to 82 destinations. The fleet consisted out of Airbus A321 and A330.
#6 — SunExpress
The Turkish-German joint venture, SunExpress, achieves powerful results in terms of environment-friendly flights. The airline mainly operates medium-haul flights (800-3,800km) on a solid sustainable level of 74.9 efficiency points. Since the airline does not operate many short-haul flights, the weak performance does not influence the sustainability result.
SunExpress is a Turkish-German airline based in Antalya. SunExpress was founded in October 1989 as a joint venture between Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa. It operates scheduled and chartered passenger flights to 90 destinations in 30 countries in Europe and North Africa, the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, and the Red Sea. The carrier operates a fleet of 62 aircraft at the time of writing. Its fleet solely consists of B737-800.
Sustainable Aviation: Here are the Top 5 Environment-Friendly Airlines
#5 — Transavia (France)
The French subsidiary of Transavia achieves excellent overall results in terms of environment-friendly flight operations. The carrier scores almost 80 efficiency points on short-haul flights (<800km). However, in terms of sustainability, medium- and long-haul flights are solid too.
Transavia France and formerly branded as transavia.com France is a French low-cost airline owned by Air France & Transavia Airlines based at Paris-Orly Airport. The airline operates a fleet of 48 aircraft and flies to some 60 destinations. The carrier’s fleet solely contains Boeing B737-800.
#4 — TUIfly
Germany’s charter airline, TUIfly, can call itself the world’s 4th most sustainable airline. The airline operates short-, medium, and long-haul flights and shows equally good results in terms of environment-friendliness. Especially on medium-haul flights (800-3,800km), TUIfly shows an outstanding performance in terms of sustainability (77.7)
TUIfly is a German leisure airline owned by the travel and tourism company TUI Group. It is headquartered at Hannover Airport with bases at several other German airports. The airline operates 24 aircraft and flies to almost 40 destinations. The fleet solely consists of B737-800 aircraft.
Sustainable Aviation: Here are the Top 3 Environment-Friendly Airlines
And here we go with the top 3 most sustainable airlines.
#3 — West Airlines
At position three of the world’s most environment-friendly airlines, we have a Chinese carrier. West Airlines can be proud to call itself one of the top 3 sustainable airlines in the world! The airline achieved an outstanding efficiency score of 77.8 and an equal performance on short-haul and medium-haul flights.
West Airlines operating as West Air, is a low-cost airline based in New North Zone, Chongqing, China, operating a scheduled passenger network to domestic and international destinations out of its hub, Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport. The company was established in March 2006 by its parent company Hainan Airlines. The carrier operates a fleet of 38 aircraft and serves more than 40 destinations. Its fleet consists of Airbus A319, A320-200, A320neo, and A321-200.
#2 LATAM Airlines Brasil
And the silver medal goes to a South American airline! LATAM Brasil can be proud to call itself the world’s second most environment-friendly airline. With 82.2 efficiency points, the carrier achieved the best performance when it comes to medium-haul flights.
LATAM Airlines Brasil is the Brazilian brand of LATAM Airlines Group and the flag carrier of Brazil. The carrier operates a fleet of 142 aircraft and serves more than 50 destinations. Its fleet consists of Airbus A319-100, A320-200, A320neo, A321-200, and some Boeing 767 and 777.
#1 — TUI Airways
And here we go with the king of sustainable airlines and the most environment-friendly carrier: TUI Airways. TUI Airways almost reached an efficiency score of 80 and showed outstanding results for medium- and long-haul flights. Moreover, it is impressive to see two airlines of the TUI Group among the top 5 of the world’s most eco-friendly airlines. Well done, TUI!
TUI Airways Limited, and often referred to just as TUI, is a British charter airline offering scheduled and charter flights from the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland to destinations in Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America. The airline is the world’s largest charter airline, carrying 11.8 million passengers in 2019. The airline operates a fleet of 60 aircraft and serves almost 100 destinations. The carrier’s fleet consists of Boeing 737-800, 737 MAX, 757, 767, and 787.
Sustainable Aviation — Do you miss an Airline?
You think we’ve missed an airline? Leave us a comment below and we’ll include it with the next update of the list.