TAP Portugal becomes launch airline for IATA's industry-led carbon offset programme
TAP Portugal A320
Mon 8 Jun 2009 – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has formally launched its global carbon offset programme with Portuguese carrier TAP. The IATA-administered, industry-wide scheme is a ready-made tool enabling airlines to offer their passengers the ability to offset their carbon emissions. The programme will only invest monies in UN-approved Certified Emissions Reductions (CER) projects and voluntary credits which comply with the recognized Gold and/or Voluntary Carbon Standards. Qatar Airways announced last month it was also joining the programme (see story) and IATA hopes to have around 14 airlines signed up by year end.
IATA sees the programme as an important component of its fourth environmental strategy pillar, namely positive economic measures. “The programme sets a good example of industry leadership in economic measures. The industry standard approach is a cost-effective means for all airlines to offer their customers the option to offset emissions resulting from air travel,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
Carbon emissions are calculated based on the methodology developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The system utilizes IATA’s $350 billion financial systems to enable airlines and their passengers to purchase their ticket and offset at the same time. IATA administers the process on behalf of airlines and advises on project selection, arranges the purchase of carbon credits and manages and provides offset tracking.
The offset project chosen by TAP is the Aquarius Hydroelectric Project in Brazil, which is registered under the UNFCCC Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Aquarius is a grid-connected run-of-river hydropower plant, therefore with no dam or flooding. It partly replaces fossil fuel-based electricity generation and already reduces GHG emissions by around 15,000 tonnes CO2 equivalent per year.
Fernando Pinto, CEO of TAP, said: “We at TAP are deeply concerned about the environment and feel it is our responsibility to summon up all possible energies and resources to preserve it and protect our planet. Therefore, we are enthusiastic to be the launch airline for the IATA carbon offset programme. With it, we will be able to offer our customers the option to offset their emissions by saving an equivalent amount of CO2 with high quality projects.
“Offsetting is not a cure for climate change. But it is a responsible measure until technology can make us carbon-free. It is a voluntary scheme but we are confident that it will be popular with our passengers as we believe that the protection of the planet is everybody’s concern.”
The airline has adopted a number of measures to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, as well as improve its energy and operating efficiency. It has in place a Fuel Conservation and Emissions Reduction Project that has been reformulating procedures in a range of company departments. As a result, TAP has managed to reduce its output of CO2 by 90,000 tonnes between July 2005 and June 2008.
TAP has a medium- and long-haul fleet renewal programme, including the replacement during this year of A320 aircraft with newer models which are 8% more efficient and will enable annual reductions of around 2,200 tonnes of CO2. On the ground, the airline has initiated an energy management system, and the management of waste produced at company facilities has been another of its priority actions.