From: Laura MacInnis, Reuters
Published March 31, 2009 09:10 AM

Airlines to fly less, and pollute less, in downturn

GENEVA (Reuters) - Airlines will reduce their carbon emissions by nearly 8 percent this year as they slash the number of flights they operate in line with a drop in both cargo and passenger demand, executives said on Tuesday.

The airline sector was once seen as a driving force behind global warming, which is linked to the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, but the world financial crisis has taken the heat off the industry, which is keen to save fuel to reduce costs.


About 6 percent of the forecast carbon cut will come as a result of carriers flying fewer planes in 2009, and a further 1.8 percent reflects steps to improve energy efficiency, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.

IATA Director-General Giovanni Bisignani also reported that leading carriers have run successful tests with biofuels made from plants, raising the possibility that algae and other crops could be certified to power flights as early as next year.

Continental Airlines, Japan Airlines, Air New Zealand and Virgin have all had positive results with bio-jet fuels made from algae, the non-food crop jatropha, and camelina, a type of flax.

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