Airlines around the world are making big changes after the UN-ratified a deal to make the industry carbon-neutral by 2020, and to reduce emissions to half of 2005 levels by the year 2050.
Alberta’s WestJet is on-board; Fuel & Environment Director, Geoff Tauvette tells the Alberta Morning News it’s already increased its fuel efficiency by 45% since 2000, and is adding new planes that will add to that number.
“Our upcoming 737 MAX’s made by Boeing arrive in spring, and they’re 13% more fuel efficient than our current fleet.” says Tauvette.
If WestJet can’t meet emissions targets, the global plan by the International Civil Aviation Organization gives them and other carriers the option of buying carbon-offsets.
Tauvette says it’s too soon to say if that will increase the cost of a ticket.
“A lot depends on what the cost of carbon is at that point, how much we’re flying,” he says, “and those are the details that will continue to be worked out in the next few years so we’ll be able to get a better handle on what that looks like.”
To make sure that doesn’t happen, WestJet is also working on a low-carbon bio jet fuel. Tauvette tells the Alberta Morning News, it’s an investment not just in the environment, but in Alberta’s economy.
“We are working hard at trying to develop a bio-jet industry here in Alberta and western Canada.” says Tauvette. “Including working with our alliance with the Clean Energy Technology Centre in Drayton Valley for example to create that industry here.” (ms, Alberta Morning News)