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  • Published: Sep 29th, 2009
  • Category: Asia
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Emirates and Etihad back plan to cut carbon dioxide

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Dubai: Following the move of the international airline industry to significantly cut carbon dioxide emissions, both large UAE airlines have said they are supporting the proposal.

“Emirates believes that investing in one of the most modern and eco-efficient aircraft fleets in the world, and operating this fleet efficiently, is our biggest contribution to environmental protection,” an Emirates spokesperson told Gulf News. “Emirates supports IATA’s [International Air Transport Association] proposal to reduce global emissions, and we have been an active participant in the industry’s dialogue on this matter.”

The international airline industry has agreed to slash carbon dioxide emissions to half their 2005 levels by 2050, as announced at the United Nations climate summit in New York on Tuesday by British Airways Chief Executive Willie Walsh. He said that it would be the “best option for the planet” and should be taken up at the December Copenhagen climate summit.

The industry had agreed to improve carbon dioxide efficiency by an average of 1.5 per cent per year up to 2020 and stabilise net emissions from 2020, making the industry’s growth emission-neutral.

“We recognise the contribution of the aviation industry to global greenhouse gas emissions and are committed to being part of the industry solution,” the Emirates spokesperson said.

Etihad Airways told Gulf News that it is “supportive of the IATA proposal, which we believe represents an acceptable and unified position for the aviation industry to take to Copenhagen”.

“IATA’s ‘four-pillar’ strategy establishes the over-arching strategic principles, whilst allowing the finer tactical details to be developed later, through further discussion and debate,” an Etihad spokesperson said.

“For our own part, we are committed to improving our own emissions through a combination of initiatives, including fuel efficiency measures and the adoption of new technologies, such as bio-fuels. We are supportive of market-based mechanisms such as emissions trading, as long as they are developed in such as way as to be globally applied, sector specific, and create no competitive distortion,” he added.

Etihad Airways operates one of the industry’s youngest and most environmentally friendly aircraft fleets. The new generation aircraft and engines are among the quietest and most fuel-efficient in the commercial aviation market.

Sector analysts say that younger airlines with new fleets have a big advantage in reaching the goals in comparison to decade-old airliners with an older and more environmentally harmful fleet.

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