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Better Air Quality Forces Airlines to Rethink Carbon Neutrality

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With fewer aircraft and road vehicles operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, many nations report their overall air quality has improved. However, with the travel industry ready to start recovering routes, governments and public opinion is making carriers think more carefully about how to approach carbon offsetting.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has taken an immeasurable human toll around the world, fewer aircraft and road vehicles in operation created an unexpected side effect: better air quality. Now, as airlines recall aircraft and slowly begin ramping up flights, consumers are becoming more conscious about how their carbon footprint is affecting the environment. Aerospace Technology reports more flyers may be making decisions based on environmental factors, as opposed to purely price.

Nearly Half of Consumers Said They Would Reduce Their Carbon Footprint

A report published by IQAir notes that 84 percent of countries around the world reported having cleaner air as a result of people working and staying at home. As a result, consumers are becoming more aware of their own carbon output, and how they should approach the topic.

In a separate study by GlobalData, 47 percent of consumers said they would reduce their environmental footprint ‘slightly,’ ‘significantly’ or ‘prioritize.’ This includes considering how their airlines are becoming more environmentally friendly as a result. While 39 percent of the respondents said they would continue to travel internationally once the pandemic ends, three-fourths said they were either ‘somewhat’ or ‘always’ influenced by their provider’s environmental policies.

“Consumers are considering the environment more than ever,” the GlobalData report at Aerospace Technology reads. “Ultimately, airlines who fall behind or cannot invest in new, more fuel-efficient technologies risk further damage to their business model and reputation.”

Airlines Continue to Explore Ways to Reduce Carbon Footprint and Operate Green

With more consumers going out of their way to pick brands that are better for the environment, carriers and governments are working to determine ways to reduce their carbon footprint. While JetBlue claims they are among the first airlines to go “carbon neutral” on their domestic operations, the nation of Sweden is offering reduced landing and take-off fees to airlines who choose greener aircraft and biofuels.

strickerj April 1, 2021

Atmospheric carbon dioxide is invisible. Carbon emissions aren't the cause of smog; particulate emissions are, and transportation isn't the primary generator of particulate emissions (industrial processes are). In other words, those discussing visible air quality and climate change are conflating two completely different things.

Jackie_414 March 25, 2021

I am all for continuously improving air quality through efforts based on economic analysis, including externalities - for example, for years California has been exporting its pollution because it refuses to build any new power plants. However, I do not believe the global worming hoax for one second.

BMGRAHAM March 25, 2021

In other words, most people do not see a need for or don't agree with carbon offsetting and with good reason. Airlines take note.