traveleco Compiled and written by fran weaver Finnair sets ambitious targets for flight emissions Finnair's policy of renewing its fleet with fuel-efficient aircraft has radically reduced carbon emissions per seat in recent years. The airline has now set an ambitious target to cut carbon emissions by a further 24 per cent by 2017. Finnair recognises that airlines have a responsibility to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and help combat climate change. Between 1999 and 2009, carbon dioxide emissions generated per passenger seat on Finnair flights declined by 22 per cent. The airline now aims to cut emissions further: by almost a quarter in just eight years. "This target is very ambitious, but definitely achievable with hard work," says Kati Ihamäki, Finnair's vice president for sustainable development. The first step was already taken this March, with the arrival of two more brand-new Airbus A330s that use 20 per cent less fuel than the planes they have replaced. A total of seven A330 aircraft now fly Finnair's routes. "The biggest thing an airline can do to cut emissions is to run a fuel-efficient fleet," says Ihamäki. "The next generation of Airbus A350 XWBs that we've ordered for 2014 will reduce fuel consumption by a further 15 per cent." Following the phased modernisation of its short-haul fleet, Finnair is now renewing its long-haul fleet as well. "We're proud to have 18 BLue winGs MAYJUNE 2010 Association's environmental committee, Ihamäki is campaigning for international measures that will further reduce fuel use by making the use of airspace more efficient. "The forthcoming Single European Sky Initiative will coordinate air traffic control to facilitate shorter and more direct routings, and ensure planes waste less time and fuel waiting to take off or land," she says. BiofueLs in the pipeLine Another way for airlines to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to use carbon-neutral biofuels. "Finnair aims to pioneer the use of biofuels, and we're already looking at various options with producers. After running tests later this year we hope to start adding biofuels into the mix for commercial flights in 2011, although it's not yet technically possible to completely replace fuels based on fossil oil," says Ihamäki. Aviation biofuels could be made from various raw materials in different locations. In Finland, fuels could be manufactured from forest biomass, and fuels made from cultivated algae could soon become available elsewhere in the world. "Biofuels will undoubtedly help us reach our target for 2017, but we must ensure they are truly sustainable by looking at the impact they have on things like local food production and the environment," says Ihamäki. planned these major fleet renewal investments in good time," says Ihamäki. "Our planes now have an average age of just six years, which is very low for an established airline." Leaner pLanes Finnair's planes have also slimmed down, thanks to a special "weight watchers programme" that has identified many ways to reduce their total weight, from the optimization of fuel loads to the use of lighter seats and catering equipment. "Every little bit helps, and together these measures have helped us reduce the fuel consumption of existing aircraft by 2.5 per cent without compromising safety or service," says Ihamäki. Modern aircraft designs make use of lighter materials as well as innovations in engine technologies and aerodynamic streamlining. Finnair's pilots have meanwhile adopted new landing approach techniques that also cut fuel use. Helsinki is already an efficient hub. As a member of the International Air Transport
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