NGOs slam ‘gas guzzling’ Airbus over fuel efficiency ‘betrayal’

Aviation giant Airbus has been accused of undermining fuel efficiency standards for new aircraft by a group of 17 European NGOs which claims that Airbus is prioritising profit over planet.

Despite calls from the US for a strong fuel efficiency design standard, lobbying and policy filibusters from Airbus have led to European policymakers hinting at weaker ambitions that could result in up to 400 megatonnes of avoidable CO2 emissions by 2040 being released by the aviation sector.

The NGOs, including WWF, ACT Alliance Europe and the Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (HACAN) write: “Airbus claims to be an environmentally friendly and responsible company.

“It receives millions in public money and subventions every year to pursue this aim. Yet its actions on fuel efficiency regulation seem to contradict this. For Europe to follow the Airbus line at ICAO would be a betrayal of European climate ambition and run directly counter to everything that Europe so rightly achieved last month in Paris.”

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is meeting in February in an attempt to agree on an international efficiency standard for the sector, which was excluded from last month’s legally-binding global climate deal in Paris.

Airbus and Boeing aircraft account for more than 90% of global aviation emissions – a sector which itself is responsible for 5% of global emissions.

Airbus was contacted by edie yesterday (26 January), but had not responded at time of publication.

Fight or flight

In the build-up to the Paris talks twenty-eight chief executives and aviation association leaders penned an open letter to global governments urging them to commit to a joint approach to help deliver emissions reductions across the sector.

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has released figures showing that despite a 45% reduction in average aircraft fuel burn in the last 40 years, the aviation industry is still around 12 years behind efficiency targets set by the UN’s aviation body.

It has previously been reported that without tangible targets from governments to reduce carbon rates, emissions from the world’s aviation and maritime sectors could rise 250% by 2050.

NGO Letter to Airbus

Matt Mace

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