Carbon Offsets for Airlines Gain Momentum

Paris-based Airsavings, a global supplier of back-end technology to low-cost airlines, continues its agenda to clean up the skies with a carbon neutralizing program designed for small to mid-sized carriers.

Airsavings said it recognizes that the carbon offset program does not provide a complete solution to the impending emissions and greenhouse gas crisis, but sees it as being part of a broader global strategy to reduce emissions and contribute positively to climate change by allowing passengers to minimize the impact of their air travel.

Carbon offset contributions generated via Airsavings' program go directly to ActionCarbone, a European-sponsored nonprofit organization that funds carbon-offsetting projects like tree planting and alternative energy implementation across the world. ActionCarbone (www.actioncarbone.org) is backed by ADEME, France's government agency for environment and energy issues and is operated by GoodPlanet, a non-governmental organization that promotes sustainability and ecological preservation.

As climate change awareness dominates academic discussion and consumer consciousness everywhere, the pressure is on airlines -- large and small -- to considerably ramp up their green initiatives. On a large scale, this means an industry-wide investment in new fuel efficiency technologies, assessment of alternative fuel sources, and regulatory repositioning as witnessed by the new billon Euro "Clean Sky" initiative, that will develop technologies for the next generation of aircraft.

For individual airlines, it means a reevaluation of the supply chain, close scrutiny (and modification) of in-cabin and airport products and services, more carbon-offset initiatives made available to consumers, and goodwill efforts acknowledging the issues of global warming and climate change.

Airsavings' program calculates real-time flight emissions based on distance traveled, fuel consumed, load factor, capacity and radiation effect. Contributions are based on the actual distance determined by global positioning system coordinates, representing the full carbon footprint of every passenger, on every flight.

Moroccan low-cost airline Atlas-Blue is the first airline using the carbon offset program, according to a press release. Atlas-Blue is Africa's first airline to offer carbon offsets during the booking process to its passengers, following EasyJet and some American legacy carriers into the market.

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