British Airways has unveiled a radical new
environmental target of halving net CO2 emissions by 2050.
The target, one of the most ambitious set by any
airline, means that British Airways will reduce its net carbon
output from 16 million tonnes in 2005 to eight million by
Willie Walsh, the airline's chief executive,
announced the new objective in Hyderabad, to which British Airways
has just opened a new route from London Heathrow.
"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
"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
"We have taken climate change issues very
seriously for a long time. More than a decade ago, we became the
first airline to publish fuel efficiency targets - and we have
achieved an improvement since then of almost 30%.
"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."
In a speech to the Indian
School of Business, Mr Walsh also warned that economic recovery in
the UK was at least two years away.
He said: "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.
the moment, I would expect things to continue getting worse rather
"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."
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