These days we seem to talk about more and more about Global Warming, especially as our weather patterns seem to be confused a little bit… And it’s always a question how air transportation takes its part in this process. We know that flying contributes to the emission of green-house gases, but it’s always a subject of dispute just how much it actually does that. IATA has launched a new initiative to reduce the emission of these gases, but more and more airlines are launching their own, individual programs to save the environment, or at least to pollute less. Up to date, the traditional airlines have been much more active in this field, even though environmentalists blame the low-cost airlines even more, as they grow much quicker and thus take a bigger percentage of air travel related pollution day-by-day. This article features one traditional and one low-cost airline initiative.
Recently, two different initiatives have been announced by two airlines, but under the surface they target the same philosophy:
“Pay as much as you pollute!”
The Qantas Group launched a comprehensive “carbon offset program” under which Qantas and Jetstar (the low-cost subsidiary of Qantas) passengers can elect to offset their share of flight emissions by making monetary contributions through qantas.com and jetstar.com. Group CEO Geoff Dixon told media yesterday that the company has “undertaken a full lifecycle assessment of all operations, calculating the emissions associated with carrying a passenger from one point to another.” Via the websites, passengers can use an “online calculator” that assesses flight data and “automatically advises customers of their emissions and the cost of offsetting them.”
Dixon added that Qantas Group is focused on achieving a CO2 savings target of more than 2 million tonnes by June 2011 through a range of initiatives that it believes will set the airline up as an industry leader in cutting emissions. It has $20 billion worth of Airbus A380s (20) and Boeing 787s (65) on order (the two new aircraft types will be much more fuel-efficient than the current ones) and has launched a series of support programs to cut fuel consumption. These range from the establishment of a dedicated, businesswide environment and fuel conservation department; to optimizing aircraft approach and departure tracks, and introduction of “Variable Cost Index Flight Planning” for optimal speed and routing based on daily variations in wind, temperature and weight, which would save fuel, and thus lead to lower emissions.
UK budget airline easyJet is taking a slightly different approach, not leaving the decision to the passengers, rather calling on politicians to take a “more intelligent” approach when it comes to aviation’s environmental impact. In a report published yesterday entitled “Towards Greener Skies: The Surprising Truth About Flying And The Environment,” easyJet recommends that the UK eliminate the controversial Air Passenger Duty, which was doubled earlier this year ostensibly owing to aviation’s impact on the environment, and replace it with a tax based on aircraft types and distance traveled.
“Taxing families but not private jets is a grotesque insult,” CEO Andy Harrison said. “The time has come to scrap Air Passenger Duty in its current form and replace it with a ‘polluter tax’ that has at its heart a very simple notion–those that fly on airlines that pollute less, like easyJet, should pay less.”
To reach consumers “that have been mostly silent in the recent debate,” the London Luton-based carrier is launching a national newspaper advertising campaign as well, and plans to place environmental messages on the backs of aircraft seats from early October.
easyJet argues that its passengers produce 95.7g of CO2 per km., “which is less than the average family car, less than Virgin’s Voyager trains, less than the Toyota Prius.” (Toyota Prius is the world’s best selling hybrid vehicle, with supposedly the lowest emissions.)
by balint01 (based on ATW News)