About a month ago, the British Airways flight BA1476 became the first-ever passenger flight powered by sustainable fuel—recycled cooking oil! As the officials stated, the energy-efficient Airbus A32neo flew flawlessly from London to Glasgow.
The result was 62% lower CO2 emissions than what the flight would have produced a decade ago, as confirmed by British Airways CEO Sean Doyle.
According to him, although the flight did produce approximately 6.4 tons of CO2 (cca. 14,100lb), it was still carbon-neutral due to optimal flight conditions that offset the CO2 balance, such as:
- Direct takeoff and descent with no waiting time
- Electric vehicles at the airport
- Optimal flight path
- Fuel that contains sustainable fuels (35%).
Although these are not regular everyday flying conditions, the message was clear—with a certain amount of effort invested into it, CO2 reduction is an attainable goal even in airline traffic.
This was also the goal behind organizing the flight—to demonstrate the progress made in the field of sustainable flying and BA’s “determination to continue innovating.” This was an important step on the path to decarbonization before the Cop26 summit.
According to the data published in The Guardian, a London-New York return trip generates about 986kg (2173.7lb) of CO2 per passenger.
This is roughly the amount of carbon pollution an average American produces in two months’ time by charging each lightbulb, electronic device, or appliance in their home.
And while many are trying to make their homes more energy-efficient with things like high-end tankless water heaters, LED light bulbs, or french door refrigerators, the sad fact is—we still have a humongous carbon footprint.
So, there’s the spread of “flight shame” among the environmentally aware. To fight this, other airline industry giants like American Airlines, United Airlines, and Air France have tried using biofuel-kerosene mixes as well.
Attempting to curb CO2 pollution, airlines are also fitting more passengers into planes and finding the shortest routes to destinations.