Months of thinking, designing and engineering, Fly.Green is online now! GruenerFliegen, the German version of Fly.Green already launched successfully in February 2021 in Germany. We have learned a lot, met interesting people along this way and have received a whole bunch of support and ideas from partners, family and friends. “We” is a dedicated team of individuals with roots in aviation and travel. Philipp Gablenz, initiator of Fly.Green and GruenerFliegen, has involved befriended experts and dedicated money, time and effort into this project. Not only to provide a modern and sustainable alternative to established search engines, but similar important with the goal to establish an independent service, which is beyond the influence of profit-oriented or lobbyism organisations.
Air travel is a major contributor to global warming. The Covid 19 Pandemic caused an interruption, but there will be further growth in the future causing a further increase of emissions. The climate impact of flying will worsen further. Carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, soot and sulphur particles as well as water vapour from aircraft engines affect the climate with different durations and intensities.
There is no technical solution for carbon neutral air transportation yet and we know it will take time until such solutions are fully developled. One day there will be a zero-emission plane or a solare powered airship. In the meantime, we have to reduce emissions as much as possible. Unavoidable emissions should be compensated. To meet the 2°C target, the maximum of further global warming acceptable, requires global carbon emissions to be at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 and be reduced to virtually zero by 2100.
We can not trust in a voluntary self-regulation of the aviation industry. Some airlines went ahead and started offsetting their carbon emissions on behalf of their customer. Unfortunately these approaches do carry a high risk of companies exercising a well played public greenwashing, rather than really taking measures to reduce emissions.
At Fly.Green, we put the decision on how much emissions are generated in your hands! Every flight harms the environment. But not every flight is equal, as every flight has its own specific emissions. And you should know these emissions. This will enable us to develop a ecological awareness, desperately needed to deal with climate change. This will allow what we call a “qualified choice”.
Our simplistic assumption is: a customer preference for low emission flights will be a great incentive for airlines for change. We, the passengers, can make carbon reduction a matter of competition between airlines, by booking cleaner flights.. Wouldn’t that be an exciting push into real environment protection instead of relying on greenwashing?
So passenger can make a qualified choice to protect the climate by booking flights with lower emissions to reduce their individual carbon footprint. The second step should always be to compensate the rest of emissions in a voluntarily payment for environment projects. We have also considered this at Fly.Green, but let’s talk about our emission data first.
We first researched to find an industry-independent, scientifically sound and renowned data provider for flight emissions. Based on independent test results and leading opinions from the environmental secotr, we choose atmosfair. atmosfair gGmbH is a German non-profit climate protection organization based in Berlin. It developed out of a research project of the Federal Ministry of the Environment in a joint initiative with tour operator.
Data sources come from independent scientific research only, never from airlines themselves
The emission calculation itself is based on the principle: as accurate as possible, but without apparent accuracy. When it comes to travel planning, you can only calculate the probable consumption of a flight. For example, if a jet needs to be redirected because of fog, or if the load is higher or lower than the average, this cannot be included in the calculation. The data sources come from independent scientific research projects or from specialized independent data service providers. In no case does atmosfair obtain data from the airlines themselves.
The data contains other pollutants , such as nitrogen oxides or soot particles, in addition to carbon. These also heat the climate. For this reason, the values for an air journey calculated at atmosfair are usually higher than with other emission calculators.
We have now combined atmosfair’s data with actually bookable flights of over 750 airlines worldwide. We have worked with the Berlin-based tech start-up UPPER to develop the search engine. For many weeks we worked together on our “greener flight search engine”. Mission accomplished:
Above all, we have been guided by the idea of what is important for the decision-making of the environmentally conscious traveler.
At a glance, we can now present all relevant travel data, the ticket price, the pollution per flight and the cost of compensation. We present all information in detail and as transparent as possible. We have programmed a decision aid as additional sorting feature, the “qualified choice”. This includes, of all things, the CO₂, value of a flight as the most important criterion, but also looks at the total travel time and the fare.
Fly.Green is an online flight search. However, we do not sell any flights ourselves. For this, we have decided exclusively on a partner, Kiwi.com. Kiwi.com is a world-leading online travel provider and one of the fastest growing companies in Europe.
For all itiniaries, Kiwi.com offers a guarantee in case you are stuck at an airport. In such a case, alternative flights to the destination will be offered or the cost of unused tickets will be refunded. Flights of all 750+ carrier are sold under the uniform business conditions of Kiwi.com. This allows connecting flight pairs of different airlines, which can only be offered with Kiwi.com. It also allows to connect between flights, bus and train, an offer we want to use and integrate at a later stage. The offer is actually developed to offer cheaper fares. We will now used this option to find the most environmentally friendly connections!
Since Kiwi.com also offers all “traditional” flights, we are pleased that you can search and compare all flight options under uniform conditions. We forward our travelers with a good conscience to book with Kiwi.com.
The third important component of “green flying” is a voluntary compensation of the pollutants caused by the journey. Compensation (also called offset) cannot, of all things, solve the climate problem, because it does not change the actual CO₂ sources. However, it is necessary as the second best solution as long as the best solution does not yet exist. The best solution of course would be a carbon neutral travel option. Until then, it is up to the individual passenger to check the important steps before compensating. Sometimes you can replace air journeys by a video conference. Or you book a long holiday instead of two shorter ones. And of all, you can now also find out which airline offers the most climate-efficient flight with Fly.Green to immediately reduce your impact.
We want to make sure, the compensatory amount ends up where it is really needed. There are a lot of doubtful offers out there. We only trust seals of quality, audited by external auditors. So we have set the certification of the projects according to the CDM Gold Standard (Clean Development Mechanism) as a requirement for Fly.Green. This standard is the strictest existing standard for climate protection projects worldwide.
We have chosen atmosfair as a partner for compensation in Germany. Passengers voluntarily pay a climate contribution dependent on their level of emissions, which atmosfair uses to develop renewable energies in countries where these are still scarce, especially in developing countries. In this way, atmosfair saves CO₂ that would otherwise have been generated by fossil fuels in these countries. At the same time, local people benefit, often for the first time, from access to clean and constantly available energy, a must for education and equal opportunities.
We will always display potential cost for offset at Fly.Green. This is reflecting our believe, that offset is a “natural” part of your travel budget. This leads to a lower TOTAL PRICE for environmental friendlier flights, as they need lower offset. We believe that this TOTAL PRICE analysis is a further step that will move the aviation industry in a more sustainable and therefore more future-oriented direction.
Moving ahead we would like to inform you regularly about current developments in the field of sustainable travel, technical progress in aviation and interesting destinations for your travel plans. For this purpose, we will publish articles here or point you to informative and relevant publications and developments. So check frequently to stay informed.
For us transparency, being independent from industry influence and operating a carbon neutral business are top priorities. We will therefore also write regularly about our own planning and our own thoughts on topics and publish them here.
On the product side the integration of bus and train traffic will be the next big step for us. We want to present bus and train connections as an alternative to flights wherever possible.
At the end of the day, we too have to consider how Fly.Green can be built sustainably. So far, we have used up our financial savings for the emission data and the development of the search engine. We think that’s ok because the result is really good. For every booking generated via Fly.Green we receive a commission. This is how we hope to finance our ongoing operation. After a test phase we want to decide whether we look for an investor (but then it’s about profit again) or whether we can finance this project by commissions only.
Thank you for reading to the end and stay healthy and happy!