How These International Airlines Are Practising Sustainability

Critical issues that were ignored for a long time are being taken seriously now, with many airlines opting for sustainable practices
Many airlines opting for sustainable practices. Credit Shutterstock
Many airlines opting for sustainable practices. Credit Shutterstock

In the last few years, words and terms like 'sustainability', 'eco-travel', 'conscious travel', etc., have become a part of the regular vocabulary of the tourism industry. As a result, crucial issues that weren't addressed are being taken seriously now, with many airlines opting for sustainable practices. Here's a look at some such international airlines and how they make it possible.

On its website, Emirates claims that the airline has invested in "modern, eco-efficient technology." As a result, their aircraft have both "reduced noise" and "lower engine emissions." Their engine washing procedures clean internal engine components, maintaining fuel-efficient performance and prolonging the engine's useful life. This procedure saves thousands of litres of water. In addition, the airlines' economy class blankets on long-haul flights are made from 100 percent recycled plastic bottles. Each blanket is made from 28 bottles, chipped, spun into yarn, and woven into soft, warm and sustainable blankets. Using these blankets prevents plastic bottles from ending up in landfill and saves energy and emissions in the manufacturing process when compared with using new plastic materials.

Virgin Atlantic
The British airline focuses on reducing the total amount of cabin waste they produce through more innovative product design, investing in reusable rather than disposable products, putting new, unused products back into service and more innovative loading of products. As per the airline's website, through careful planning, their loaded product weight onboard was reduced by 8 percent in four years (2016 &ndash 2019), saving 4,640 tonnes of carbon per year. They also use stirrers made of bamboo.

Cathay Pacific
Since 2019, Cathay Pacific airline has been offering passengers a plant-based pork alternative, OmniPork, as part of its in-flight menu. The alternative is made from a blend of pea protein, non-GMO soy, shiitake mushrooms and rice to create a vegan meat alternative that mimics the taste and texture of pork. It's to be noted that pork is the most consumed meat globally, accounting for nearly 40 percent of global meat production. OmniPork is a climate-friendly alternative that reduces greenhouse gases, saves oceans and seas from waste run-off and feeds many more people per hectare of land.

Qatar Airways
The national airline of Qatar reduces waste and seeks changes for material recovery or reuse for other uses. Its initiatives range from water conservation to decreasing food waste to single-use plastic reduction. In place of water wash techniques on GE engines, it employs General Electric's '360 Foam Wash'. Additionally, irrigation at Hamad International Airport uses reclaimed wastewater, while cleaning tasks use water from air conditioners. Further, the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 in the airline's fleet have been aerodynamically improved, and have more modern, quieter engines, with at least a 15 percent reduced noise footprint.

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