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Runway to net zero: Climeworks partners with SWISS and Lufthansa Group

Key take-aways:

  • SWISS and Lufthansa Group become Climeworks’ first customers from the airline industry by signing a long-term carbon removal agreement.

  • The companies act as early movers in the industry to boost the scale-up of direct air capture technology to help fight global warming and secure a more sustainable future for aviation.

  • Alongside ongoing emissions reduction efforts, including the use of sustainable aviation fuel, SWISS will neutralize part of its hard-to-abate emissions with Climeworks’ high-quality carbon removal service and offer customers the opportunity to contribute to the technology’s acceleration.

Jan Wurzbacher, co-founder and co-CEO of Climeworks, and Dieter Vranckx, CEO of SWISS, at Zurich Airport in February 2024.
Jan Wurzbacher, co-founder and co-CEO of Climeworks, and Dieter Vranckx, CEO of SWISS, at Zurich Airport in February 2024.

Climeworks, global leader in carbon removal via direct air capture, Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS), and the Lufthansa Group enter a partnership to jointly accelerate the scale-up of high-quality carbon removal. As part of the agreement, the parties signed a catalytic carbon removal agreement, making SWISS and the Lufthansa Group key first movers in the aviation industry. The partnership has a long-term horizon, initially extending until 2030, with the option to prolong the collaboration and purchase additional carbon removal volumes in the future.

Permanently removing unavoidable CO₂ emissions

SWISS, Climeworks’ first customer in the aviation industry, will leverage carbon removal via direct air capture and storage to address unavoidable CO₂ emissions. SWISS is continuously developing its customer offerings for more sustainable flying with the aim of significantly increasing the use of sustainable aviation fuel and simultaneously supporting relevant climate technologies. In the future, SWISS’ customers will also have the opportunity to take climate action with Climeworks' carbon removal solution.

Between now and 2030, SWISS, as part of the Lufthansa Group, will continue to pursue a clear emissions reduction path that has been validated by the Science Based Target initiative. In addition to focusing on reducing emissions in its own operations, the company is committed to high-quality removal initiatives.

“The decision to partner with Climeworks and to purchase its high-quality carbon removal solution reflects our ambition at SWISS to promote key technologies on the journey to net zero. In order to achieve the aviation sector's targets and the global climate goals, we must rely on a variety of measures - including the rapid scaling of sustainable aviation fuel and carbon removal”, says SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx.

Alongside unprecedented emissions reductions, 3-12 billion tons of CO₂ must be actively removed from the atmosphere every year until 2050 to reach global net zero, according to climate science (IPCC). Swift action is required from companies across industries, including aviation, to rapidly scale carbon removal solutions today in order to make the required capacities available on time.

Direct air capture’s strategic role in the future of aviation

In addition to capturing CO₂ from the atmosphere for underground storage, direct air capture will also play a role in the production of sustainable aviation fuel in the future. In line with the International Air Transport Association’s Fly Net Zero strategy, SWISS already uses sustainable aviation fuel in its aircraft to reduce emissions, alongside investments in modernized fleets and various measures to improve the operations’ efficiency.

The premium airline is also working towards the inclusion of Climeworks’ high-quality carbon removal service in its diverse portfolio of customer offers for more sustainable flying.

Jan Huckfeldt, Chief Commercial Officer of Climeworks
Industries like aviation with hard-to-abate emissions are sometimes unjustifiably confronted with moral hazard questions when investing in carbon removal. It must be cleared up once and for all: no cost-sensitive company will consider high-quality carbon removal without first having exhausted all available CO₂ reduction measures. SWISS' pioneering carbon removal purchase shows their steadfast commitment to making net zero in aviation a reality.

Climeworks and SWISS: a pioneering partnership

Learn more about Climeworks’ collaboration with SWISS from our co-CEO and co-founder, Jan Wurzbacher, and SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx.

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