Malaysia Airlines Sustainability Update
Since the launch of the Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) Sustainability Blueprint in April 2021, the Group has taken a number of important steps towards reducing its carbon footprint and improving its social impact.
The Sustainability Blueprint aims to achieve a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 (set together with oneworld Alliance partners) and help the Group to bring the business up to industry-leading standards in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for 2030. Sustainability is a key focus for MAG, with the Group taking action to minimise its environmental impacts, positively enhance the communities it operates in, and ensure safe practice and compliance throughout the organisation.
This update provides an overview of the recent developments and new initiatives which are supporting this ambition.
Bio-composting initiative for in-flight waste
In 2018, 6.7 million tonnes of cabin waste were produced by airlines worldwide. Malaysia Airlines recognises the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling the waste generated during its flights to mitigate its environmental footprint and has begun converting food waste from the kitchen into organic fertilizer and animal feed, using black soldier larvae technology. MAG has set a target to reduce its in-flight waste going to landfill by 25% by the end of 2021.
MAG has also set a target to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill by 10% by 2021/22. It plans to achieve a recycling rate of 10% by this date too, raising this to 20-30% by 2023/24 and 50% by 2025 and beyond. The Group has also set a goal for 50% of the materials used for inflight operations to be biodegradable by 2025.
Steps are already being taken to help MAG reach these ambitious targets. The Group has partnered with Unique Biotech Sdn. Bhd., to compost food waste produced during in-flight meal preparation, as an alternative to disposing of this at waste centres. The food waste can be converted into high-quality organic fertilisers and animal feed, using Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL). At only 27mm in size, these tiny larvae can be easily reared on fruits, vegetables, and organic waste which would otherwise create environmental pollution when disposed of at dumpsites. Last year, approximately 8,000kg of food waste was converted into high-grade, high-protein nutrients through this process.
Additionally, the airline is increasing its recycling of in-flight waste from in-bound flights and is progressing several initiatives through the pipeline to reduce non-food in-flight waste. This includes transitioning to more rotable equipment and biodegradable meal boxes and cutlery as well as replacing plastic packaging for headphones and waste bags with compostable materials. Further initiatives to reduce waste include the introduction of e-menu cards and e-reading materials to replace the paper versions.
Solar panels initiative
MAG’s commitment towards a cleaner future goes beyond flight operations. Since 2014, the airline has put in place a range of renewable energy solutions, aimed at improving air quality. The Group has been able to offset approximately 11,976 tonnes of CO2e since the installation of solar panels at its MASkargo complex.
Launched in May 2021, this project supports the Malaysia Airlines team to repurpose scrapped aircraft parts and onboard equipment into useful new products, giving employees the opportunity to share their innovative ideas while promoting a sustainable approach to waste.
Utilising Malaysia Airlines’ in-house talent from across the Engineering and Maintenance Department, it sees employees work together to design and craft prototypes made primarily from waste materials. An impressive range of products have been created so far, including a comfy seat made from a damaged B738 aircraft cowling (the removable engine covering) and a display cabinet made from scrapped metal and window panels.
The next step is to invite more staff with an interest in innovation and creativity to join this project, building a pool of talent with brilliant ideas to turn old items into something new. This further supports the ambitions outlined within the Sustainability Blueprint, as well as bringing positive benefits to Malaysia Airlines’ employees.
Fuel Efficiency Partnership with GE Digital
Malaysia Airlines has recently announced a collaboration with GE Digital to transform and modernise the airline’s fuel efficiency programme, through the adoption of the Fuel Insight and Flight Pulse aviation software.
Fuel Insight is a cost and emissions monitoring solution which uses data from the aircraft to increase fuel efficiency and reduce waste. It provides operators with actionable intelligence at multiple levels, allowing analysts to drill down into macro trends and understand issues on a flight-by-flight basis.
FlightPulse meanwhile puts data directly into the hands of pilots, allowing them to visualise their savings over time and adjust their flight plans to maximize safety and fuel efficiency, dramatically shortening the feedback loop.
The Group’s fuel efficiency programme has been running for more than a decade, achieving a 15% fuel burn improvement over the past eight years. Data analytics has been central to this, and the airline is proud to be working with GE Digital to evolve this further through the introduction of new software.
Regional Director for UK & Europe, Daniel Bainbridge, said: “Delivering a socially responsible and environmentally focused service is one of Malaysia Airlines’ key priorities, with sustainability now front of mind for many of our passengers. The MAG Sustainability Blueprint sets the course for Malaysia Airlines to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and we are proud to taking tangible steps towards that goal as we look forward to welcoming our customers back on board with warm Malaysian hospitality, once restrictions allow”.
About Malaysia Airlines
Malaysia Airlines is the national carrier of Malaysia, offering the only way to fly non-stop from London Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur onboard the state-of-the-art Airbus A350. Malaysia Airlines embodies the incredible diversity of Malaysia, capturing its rich traditions, cultures, cuisines and warm hospitality on board, while opening up more of Malaysia’s destinations than any other airline. The airline carries travellers on memorable journeys inspired by Malaysia’s diverse richness.
Additionally, customers can book with confidence given the flexibility offered by the ‘Flex’ fare, which provides a suite of benefits including fee-free changes and full refunds.
As a member of oneworld®, Malaysia Airlines and its partners in the global alliance offer a superior, seamless travel experience. oneworld offers special privileges and rewards for frequent flyers, including access to more than 650 airport lounges worldwide. For more information, please visit www.malaysiaairlines.com
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Daisy Birch / Ella Morris