Finnair launches a CO2 emissions calculator for passengers on its website
Kati Ihamäki, Finnair’s Vice President, Sustainable Development
Thu 17 Apr 2008 – Finnair is offering passengers a website facility on its home page to calculate the CO2 emissions on flights but has decided to buck the current trend and not offer customers a carbon offset scheme. The airline says the responsibility for cutting emissions lies with it, not the passenger.
“In our environmental work we have focused on the fact that Finnair carries the responsibility for its emissions itself,” says Kati Ihamäki, the airline’s Vice President, Sustainable Development. “We do this by systematically renewing our fleet and offering short connections between Europe and Asia via Helsinki.
“We recently did a study among Finnish consumers asking them who is responsible for the emissions from a flight, the airline or the passenger, and 54% replied that it was the airline. This gives resounding support to our view.
“We are not against carbon offset schemes. If a passenger wants to offset his or her emissions there are different possibilities – some of them better than others – that they can choose from. We do not currently offer any links with the calculator as we aren’t able to say which projects would be the best, although our travel agencies suggest those backed by the Gold Standard.
“The fact that not too many individuals really use airline carbon offset schemes has, of course, affected our position. However, we are looking at different options either for ourselves or our passengers to participate in but we want them to be as transparent as possible, and hence are not too keen on third party systems.
“We rather see it as our duty to take action by, for example, setting up volunteer projects and we are investing nearly three billion euros in new fleet replacement. This is drawn from the ‘polluter pays’ principle.”
Finnair is renewing its long-haul fleet by retiring its MD-11s and replacing them with new Airbus A340 and A330 aircraft by 2010. The airline says the A330 will produce 20% less emissions than the previous widebody aircraft and the A340 10% less. In 2014 Finnair is due to take delivery of the first of the new technology Airbus A350XWB aircraft it has on order, which the airline believes will reduce emissions by as much as a third compared to its current widebodies.
The new emissions calculator can be used to calculate the distance, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions resulting from one person’s trip on Finnair’s scheduled and leisure routes. The aircraft type used as the basis for calculations on European and domestic routes is the Airbus A320, on long-haul it is the A340 and on leisure flights the Boeing 757. On flights between Europe and Asia, the calculator also indicates how much fuel is consumed and emissions caused if the flight was operated via Copenhagen, Amsterdam or Frankfurt.
Fuel consumption has been calculated using Finnair’s average passenger and cargo loads. On European flights, the average passenger load factor is 75%, on long-haul flights 85% and on leisure flights 95%. The average cargo loads on European routes are 500kg and 11,000kg on long-haul flights. Fuel and CO2 emissions are allocated to passengers and cargo in relation to their payloads.