Leading Middle East carriers step up their responsibilities towards environmental sustainability
Wed 29 July 2009 – Qatar Airways has been elected as a member of the International Air Transport Association’s Environment Committee (ENCOM), which advises the relevant IATA bodies on environmental matters and acts a focal point for other IATA airline members. Qatar says its appointment is an acknowledgement of the airline’s achievements and contribution towards environmental sustainability. Bahrain’s national carrier, Gulf Air, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the country’s environment agency on a range of environmental practice initiatives to be carried out by the airline.
“Being an active member of IATA’s Environment Committee will provide us with the opportunity to make a positive contribution to the on-going environmental debate on how to combat climate change and how to reduce global emissions in line with international targets,” said Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker.
Chris Schroeder, Qatar Airway’s Senior Manager, CSR, Environment and Fuel Optimisation, and the airline’s representative on the Committee added: “As one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, we recognize that it is important to go beyond the current best industry practices to reach our final goal – carbon neutral growth. The aviation industry is pursuing ambitious efforts to reduce the overall carbon footprint. What we need now are practicable measures to deal with emissions from aviation, which we do not see incorporated in unilateral enforced emission trading schemes, but as a global solution for the aviation industry.”
Qatar Airways recently joined IATA’s new carbon offsetting programme (see story).
The other current members of ENCOM are Air France, All Nippon Airways, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Continental, Delta Air Lines, Etihad, Federal Express, Finnair, Lufthansa, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, TAP Portugal and Virgin Atlantic.
As a result of its MoU with the Bahrain Government’s General Directorate for the Protection of the Environment and Wildlife, Gulf Air will be working with the agency to set guidelines in following responsible environmental practices, energy efficiency, waste management, reducing GHG emissions, emissions control from aircraft and other ground equipment, reduction of fuel wastage, and awareness and education programmes for staff members.
“Gulf Air recognizes that social, economic and environmental responsibilities are integral to its business and believes in the importance of a strong, mutually beneficial relationship with the local community and the environment in which it operates,” said Talal Al Zain, Gulf Air’s Executive Chairman. “As Bahrain’s national carrier with footprints across four continents, Gulf Air is committed to actively engaging in tackling environmental challenges, and to help build a better future for our children, the local community and the world.”