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BA aims to cut CO2 emissions by half

Cleaner aircraft and alternative fuels planned

[January 23rd 2009]

BA planes

British Airways has set itself the ambitious target of cutting its CO2 emissions by 50%.

BA says this is the most ambitious emissions target set by any airline. But the target is not expected to be reached until 2050, when the airline says its net carbon output will have been reduced from 16 million tonnes in 2005 to eight million tonnes.

British Airways chief executive, Willie Walsh, announced the target in Hyderabad following the launch of new BA flights to the city from Heathrow airport.

"Some people say that in economic times as desperately tough as these, we can afford to put climate change issues on one side. I could not disagree more. Halving net CO2 by 2050 is an extremely challenging target. But it is one I am sure we can achieve,” Walsh said.

"We will make progress through investment in cleaner aircraft, use of alternative fuels, more efficient flight routings and the spread of emissions trading from Europe to the whole world,” he continued.

BA says it has taken climate change issues very seriously for a long time. More than a decade ago BA became the first airline to publish fuel efficiency targets and since then has achieved an improvement of almost 30 per cent.

"We are the only airline to have experience of emissions trading, and we have helped fund research into lower-carbon aviation fuels. We are currently working closely with Rolls-Royce to develop alternative fuel opportunities," added Walsh.

In a speech to the Indian School of Business the BA chief executive also warned that economic recovery in the UK was at least two years away.

"For us in the UK, the outlook is certainly no easier than anywhere else. Because of the high importance of the financial services sector, it is perhaps a bleaker outlook than in other countries,” he told the assembled audience.

"At the moment, I would expect things to continue getting worse rather than better. I cannot see the bottom of this crisis yet. There is some distance to go, and I would expect this very difficult environment to last for at least another 24 months," Walsh concluded.

Written by: Nick Purdom

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