Tuesday, January 8, 2013

■ ANGOLA: TAAG's first Green Initative pays off handsomely with savings of $35mln.

TAAG logo
Angolan national carrier, TAAG Linhas Aéreas de Angola (DT), over the period between November 2011 and late 2012, was able to save USD35million (AOA3.5billion) following the successful implementation of its first Green program to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions said the company's CEO, Pimentel Araújo, in his year-end message.

Fuel thirsty 737-200Advs
Fuel thirsty 737-200Advs (Michel Gilliand)
According to a statement from the company’s communications department, during the period, TAAG aircraft reduced their carbon-dioxide emissions by 41 million tonnes.

The programme, TAAG's first Green Project, was conceived of in 2010 when, according to the carrier, it hired the services of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to tally up its fuel costs, with a view to drawing up a management and efficiency plan for the airline’s flight operations.

Subsequent results from the study showed that the company could make savings "in excess of 60 percent, with significant environmental and financial gains", given more efficient use of aircraft and better flight planning.

Part two of the programme came in 2011, when TAAG enlisted the services of experts to consult, advise and train its newly formed Fuel Efficiency Management Group.

Overall, 24 savings initiatives were proposed, which amongst others, included: reducing the amount of excess weight flown on-board by reducing the amount of extra fuel flown. The lowered weight resulted in lower fuel consumption. Additionally, regarding the carrier's older Boeing 737-200Advs, crews were told to reduce altitude of acceleration, to quickly retract flaps and to use them as little as possible on landing on longer runways.

Angola's Oil Production
(US Department of Energy)
The airline's real trump card was its "Tankering Project" that has contributed the most in terms of savings - underway since May 2011 and accounting for over half the USD35million financial savings - almost 56 percent in fact. Under its Fuel Efficiency Management Group's "Tankering" initiative, the carrier has implemented a policy of buying fuel at destinations where prices are lower than that charged in Luanda, ironic given Angola's oil exporter status. The commissioning of the USD8billion Lobito Oil Refinery by Angolan state-run oil firm Sonangol in 2015 is expected to help ease local petroleum product prices.

Summing up, Araújo said that this year TAAG had set other objectives, among which is the consolidation of the policy of reducing flight delays. A policy which, in 2012, had resulted in over two thirds of the airline’s flights leaving on time.

No mention was made, however, of impending job cuts at TAAG allured to by Jacinto Junior, TAAG Angola Airlines international relations and commercial agreements director, who said that while TAAG had reduced its staff in recent years from 6'000 to around 3'500, it needed to be cut down to 2'600-2'800 in order to help the carrier return to profitability.