Innovation for Airlines

There’s no hiding the fact that air travel takes a heavy toll on the environment.

Furthermore, with eco-anxiety on the rise, climate activism fuelled across the globe and the ‘flight shaming’ movement becoming front page news, the aviation industry has increasing come under the spotlight with travellers demanding changes in the industry.

Some airlines have been listening to the public’s cries – and increasingly, looking at innovative and forward-thinking ideas to help offset carbon emissions and more. Here, we look at some of the new and different ways companies are working towards building a ‘greener’ flying experience….


Urban farm at JFK’s T5 anyone? One of the most innovative green ideas has to be from USA-based JetBlue. Their ‘farm-to-air’ concept consists of a 24,000 square foot farm positioned outside the departure lobby and is the first functioning farm in the world at an airport.

Growing more than 1,000 pounds of blue potatoes per harvest and housing 2,000 herbs and plants, including a variety of produce such as leeks, arugula, beets, kale and carrots, JetBlue composts many leftovers from select restaurants in T5.

Currently, a portion of the harvest is donated to local food pantries and to TERRA Chips, the company that makes the blue potato chips served on JetBlue flights, for research and development of new flavours. Yum.

Jetblue Green space
JetBlue’s blue potato farm sprouts at JFK airport


After retiring its airbus a340-600 D-AIHO, Lufthansa decided save it from the scrap heap and upcycle it instead. A spokesperson said, ‘Lufthansa cabins are full of high-quality materials, even the outer skin is made of extremely durable materials. They’re much too valuable to throw away ⁠–   it would be better to reuse them. That’s how the idea for our brand-new Lufthansa upcycling collection was born.’

Product designers and recycling experts were commissioned to sustainably reuse the original materials. Limited edition pieces included coffee tables made using the side of the aircraft, a ‘wall bar’ crafted from two windows and even a gym bag made from the remains of a business class blanket. The project was so successful that a new Lufthansa Upcycling Collection 2.0 has been launched, with products available to buy here.

Airlines innovation
New luggage range launched by Lufthansa


Taking a step into the future of fuels, TUI fly has teamed up with AlgaePARC to develop a carbon neutral, sustainable alternative for kerosene.

This exciting partnership is exploring the potential of bio-kerosene production from microalgae, and if it turns out to be economically and technologically feasible, TUI fly has stated it is willing to invest in large scale production of algae.

The main challenge however, is that the huge costs associated with production need to be reduced to make this a viable option. That said, with microalgae being a generally young and still very much unexplored crop, the potential in this area is vast. Watch this space…

Jetblue Green space

SWC Partnership are proud to work with both Lufthansa and Eurowings. To find out more about the work we have done for Eurowings, click here

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