Etihad and Qatar Airways Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Etihad business class

Etihad Airways from the United Arab Emirates has signed an agreement with Masdar (the same group developing the world’s first carbon neutral city), to reduce the carbon footprint of the airline. The company follows in the footsteps (or wings?) of two other Middle East airline projects we know about — one in Israel to green the country’s airport, and another more tangible project in Qatar. Today let’s focus on Qatar:

Qatar Airways, whose innovative advertisements are seen often on international news media programs such as CNN, is the first Middle East airlines to become involved in a plan that will enforce the reduction of greenhouse gas-causing carbon dioxide emissions by launching a carbon offsetting scheme for passengers.

The company just announced signing a “ground-breaking agreement with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to spearhead the global carbon offset trading scheme designed to help fund global environmental projects,” reports the Peninsula.

The plan, as announced by Sheikh Akbar Al Baker, the company’s CEO, calculates the carbon “footprint” for each flight, and then asks airline customers who purchase tickets online to contribute towards projects which will offset the carbon emissions caused by each flight.

The plan, endorsed in an agreement with the international air carrier organization IATA, will invest these contributions in community environmental protection projects such as alternative energy, reducing noise, recycling of waste products, and other environmentally friendly endeavours that will reduce the dangers of global warming. The airline will also invest in cleaner and more efficient aircraft to keep carbon emissions at a minimum.

Making the airline more environmentally friendly is part of Sheikh Baker’s Social Responsibility Plan for Qatar Airways which has created the “Five Pillar Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy” which deals with matters of change management, environment, integrated fuel management, communication, and sustainable development.

Sheik Akbar, world economic forum

Sheik Akbar Al Baker at the World Economic Forum in Davos

Al Baker believes that the airline must go beyond the current aviation industry standards for fuel and environmental management in order to assure a qualitative and competitive future for the company. His plan also entails ensuring a better future for the airline’s staff as well as for the world “neighborhood” in which they live:

“We have the responsibility to deal with the impact on global climate change, noise, local air quality, non-renewable resources and waste” he said.

Qatar Airways’ fleet aims to be one of the cleanest and most fuel efficient in the industry. By getting airline passengers involved in helping the environment, Al Baker feels that they will appreciate being a part of an overall effort to offset the problems of global warming and climate change.

“It goes without saying that our children’s future depends on the responsible actions of Qatar Airways, its peers, other industries, and you, the passenger,” he added.

More on green flying from the Middle East:
Join The Great Airways Debate Part I
The Great Airways Debate Part II
Will Tel Aviv Airport Be First Middle East Airport To Fly Green?

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