London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 11 November 2019

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"Can Flying Go Green?" BBC Panorama, 11 November 2019
“Can Flying Go Green?” BBC Panorama, 11 November 2019 (Image Credit: BBC)

Welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 11 November 2019.

BBC Panorama “Can Flying Go Green?”

There’s a phrase in American politics “If you’re explaining, you’re losing”.

And that’s where aviation finds itself in the climate change debate. As a percentage of global CO2 emissions, the contribution of aviation is very low. However, it is very visible (and, for some, audible) contributor. For many, flying is seen as a superfluous indulgence.

That is, of course, not the case. You can only understand a country if you’ve visited it many times. A lot of business and public affairs simply has to be done face to face. No organisation would award a contract to a supplier they have never met in person. As trends on routes from London to Brussels and Paris have shown, travellers will gladly take the train when it’s demonstrably a better option.

A BBC Panorama investigation “Can Flying Go Green?” presented by the BBC’s Chief Environment Correspondent Justin Rowlatt to be shown on BBC One (UK) tonight at 20:30 GMT is expected to criticise airlines for practices such as “fuel tankering”. This is where airlines carry fuel for the inbound flight on an outbound flight. This is often done for operational reasons, where the security of fuel supply at an airport cannot be guaranteed, or simply for cost reasons. IAG indicated last week that it may end such practices.

There are, however, signs that the industry is starting to coalesce around a single goal. Qantas has today announced that it will join IAG in aiming to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Qantas will also take one step further and will cap its net emissions at 2020 levels. Qantas will offset all growth in emissions from domestic and international operations from next year.

IAG also indicated at its Capital Markets Day last Friday that it will review individual routes on the basis of their carbon emissions. It is hard see BA’s all business class route from London City to New York JFK surviving in the long term.

It’s also questionable whether airlines such as Virgin should continue to offer complimentary car transfers when public transport is a perfectly feasible option at many airports.

In case you missed it:

IAG reaches an agreement to acquire Air Europa. (London Air Travel)

BA publishes its plan to roll out its “Club Suite” at London Heathrow. (London Air Travel)

BA opens its refurbished lounge in Johannesburg. (London Air Travel)

IAG holds its annual Capital Markets Day event. (London Air Travel)

Also of note this week:

Crossrail will not open until 2021 and a confirmed opening date will be provided in 2020. (Crossrail)

Lufthansa cabin crew hold a two day strike in a ongoing dispute over pay and benefits. (Deutsche Welle)

Rolls-Royce does not expect issues with Boeing 787 engines to be resolved until 2021, but remains committed to reducing the number of “Aircraft on Ground” to single digits by the second quarter of 2020. (Rolls-Royce)

Late post publication updates:

[Reserved for updates throughout the day]

London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing is published every Monday at 06:00 BST. If you have any tips or stories please contact us. You can also follow us on Twitter for breaking news throughout the week.

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Don’t forget to join us on Wednesday for our weekly Atlantic Update on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America.

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