When it comes to airline offerings, Mango Airlines is leading the pack higher, faster and greener! This trendy and vibrant airline, launched 30 October 2006, is a success story that has a history of firsts which include: offering a booking service through Shoprite and Checkers, accepting cellphone payment methods, and more recently the first airline in South Africa to roll out wireless (Wi-Fi) services for its passengers that allow theirelectronic devices to exchange data wirelessly over a computer network at high-speed Internet connections.

Much of our environmental and climate ills are a result of a neglected and abused environment. So problematic is the issue that a number of companies have pro-actively embarked on “going green” in a bid to reduce their carbon footprint and save the world from further damage. In their latest step towards world domination, Mango Airlines have shown they are not all about profit and have taken significant steps to implement a green strategy that shows a strong commitment to ensure sustainable growth and a much-needed dedication to the environment.

Carbon emissions are inevitable when it comes to airline travel, so much so that there has been talk of airlines being charged for their carbon emissions in an attempt to push them towards a more responsible approach to the environment. It’s then commendable that Mango has taken the initiative to rise to the challenge and lead the way by launching a 10 year commitment to be Africa’s first ever carbon neutral airline.

When it comes to airline offerings, Mango Airlines is leading the pack higher, faster and greener! This trendy and vibrant airline, launched 30 October 2006, is a success story that has a history of firsts.

Says Mango CEO Nico Bezuidenhout, “Airlines burn fuel and contribute approximately 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It’s an immovable fact; and as a sector that drives economic growth across markets, ergo sustainability within the industry, assuming a leadership position becomes key. By making this commitment Mango shows their desire to create a sustainable future where all are empowered with not just knowledge but the necessary means to live a greener life.”

Their strategy, which will be rolled out over an 18-month period, will kick off with an audit of all of Mango’s flight operations to measure their carbon footprint. This audit will be done in line with Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol/ISO14064 and reviewed annually to check progress and ensure compliance.

According to GHG Protocol, measurements can be reported in the following ways:-

·         Scope 1 Included in this category are direct emissions from fuel burn during air travel.

·         Scope 2 Covers indirect emissions from the use of elements such as electricity.

·         Scope 3 Indirect emissions by third party such as contractors and suppliers are reviewed. 

In their carbon neutrality initiative, Mango has put in place various programmes that will address every scope in this audit.

Scope 1 - Direct Emissions

In a bid to increase fuel efficiency on all their flights and decrease their direct emissions, Mango are working on reducing the total weight of each of their aircrafts by removing excess weight across their fleet. Minor items, such as ashtrays and ovens, have already been removed from aircrafts and in future further weight will be reduced when they replace all their seats with lighter types to be installed.

To date winglets (vertical additions installed on the wingtip of airlines) have been installed on all Mango aircrafts. While these little contraptions were initially installed to increase directional stability, they also effectively reduce drag and slightly increase cruise speed, however should the pilot maintain or reduce speed the drag results in up to 4 % fuel savings and that is the direction Mango has taken.

Scope 2

To ensure the continuity of their pursuit of carbon neutrality is not only enforced on-board their flights but carries through to their homes and offices, Mango will get their whole operation and workforce invested in the process. To turn this into a reality Mango will look for a partner who will offer its employees and large supply chain community a variety of energy saving solutions that they can fit in their offices and their homes. These solutions will vary from geyser timers, water efficient showerheads to LED lighting as a means of reducing their electricity consumption. By offering green alternatives Mango as an airline will be looking to ensure that practices taken up at work will be continued at home minimising indirect consumption by their staff.

Scope 3

One of the biggest hindrances in the drive for energy efficiency is lack of education and awareness, not only of the opportunities but the repercussions of irresponsible behaviour. To address this issue Mango has lined up and invested in valuable educational programmes that touch on conservation and energy use reduction and will be made available via their owned channels. This series of programmes aims to spread the message to interested parties, including its corporate partners and suppliers about the need and importance of creating a more environmentally friendly environment. By engaging their suppliers and contractors in the initiative, Mango will look to influence their habits and indirectly minimise their emissions.

Over and above that,the airline is partnering with the South African Mango Grower’s Association and Subtropical Fruit Association in a five year agricultural development and offset programme that will see micro-entrepreneur skill development, mitigating fossil fuel energy dependency, educational initiatives through bursaries and 41 000 hectares of agricultural land earmarked for emission reduction activities. No-one gets left behind asguests booking flights will also be given the option to be part of a Voluntary Emission Offset programme which allows guests to purchase offsets and give Mango the responsibility of reducing their emissions while the guest owns the environmental benefit.

Says Minister of Public Enterprises, Malusi Gigaba, “Mango’s commitment to pursue carbon neutrality within a decade must be lauded. As a medium sized domestic airline, Mango has punched above its weight since inception and its intent to involve its greater supply chain community in its efforts will go a long way to minimising the up and downstream environmental impact of aviation and related industries.”

With companies like Mango at the helm of all things innovative and socially responsible the corporate landscape in South Africa and the environment is in good hands - we can only hope this is one of their many initiatives that many will emulate in time! With the airline being recently granted an International Air License Permit growth is inevitable, and as they say the sky is the limit!