‘Long distance flights with stopovers more eco-efficient’

February 23rd, 2009 - 3:48 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) Long distance flights with stopovers are more efficient, an expert in the field says, pointing out that a Delhi-New York flight with a stopover in Europe can save nine tonnes of fuel and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by a staggering 28 percent against a non-stop flight between the two destinations.
This apart, “the choice of an airline with a modern fleet, an un-congested airport and non-stop flights of up to six hours can save as much as 30 percent of fuel with an attendant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions”, says Kati Ihamaki, vice president (Sustainable Development) of Nordic carrier Finnair.

“Look at it this way: a non-stop flight from New Delhi to New York will last 14-and-a-half hours, cover 6,600 nautical miles and burn 101 tonnes of fuel. The same flight with a stopover at Helsinki will burn only 92 tonnes of fuel over the same distance, with the flight time being 15-plus hours,” Ihamaki told IANS while on a visit here.

“This translates into a saving of nine tonnes of fuel and 28 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions,” she added.

“The threat of carbon emissions is a real one in many sectors. In the world of aviation, it is still on the cards that no global agreement will be achieved on this issue,” Ihamaki pointed out, adding that this put the onus on airlines worldwide to get their act together on this score.

Detailing the steps Finnair was taking, she said replacement of the Boeing MD-11 fleet with Airbus A-330 and Airbus A-340 aircraft by 2010 would reduce emissions by 20 and 11 percent respectively.

This apart, the induction of new-technology Airbus A-350 extra wide body aircraft by 2014-16 would bring down the emission levels by a huge 31 percent, Ihamaki stated.

The fact that Finnair’s fleet has an average age of five years is also a contributory factor, she added.

To disseminate its corporate social responsibility initiatives on the environmental front, the airline has just launched the English version of its corporate blog, one of the first international carriers to launch a web log.

The first postings on http://blogs.finnair.com will handle environmental, service and production issues, with contributions from experts from within the company, including the CEO.

“Environmental issues are still something of an ego-trip instead of an eco-trip,” Ihamaki says in a posting on the blog, adding that in opting for an airline that offers an environmentally more sustainable choice, travellers’ “decisions are still based on financial criteria”.

With 66 aircraft and 9,500 employees, Finnair flies nine million passengers every year and has seen its Asian traffic rise by 150 percent in the last four years.

The airline, which began its India operations in 2006 from New Delhi, has seen the flights grow from three a week to 13 a week from the national capital and Mumbai.

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