In a development that marks growing awareness towards climate change, on Monday, Qantas Airways Ltd pledged to slash its carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. Its pledge comes in the wake of IAG also doing the same.
“We’re doing this because it’s the responsible thing to do,” said Qantas’ Chief Executive Alan Joyce in a statement, calling climate change concerns “real”.
Last month, IAG became the first major airline group to make the net zero commitment by 2050, leading the way for other airline operators to follow.
The development comes in the wake of high-profile debates spurring an increase in the number of environmentally conscious travelers and investors who are applying pressure on the aviation industry.
In a statement Qantas said, “it was looking to cap net emissions at 2020 levels and will invest A$50 million ($34.3 million) over 10 years to develop sustainable fuel to help lower carbon emissions by 80% compared with traditional jet fuel”.
Qantas has already experimented by flying a plane from Los Angeles to Melbourne using mustard seed biofuel.
“So we know the technology’s possible,” said Joyce . “It’s to actually do it commercially and to do it on scale and not impact the other environmental concerns like taking away from food crops or increasing the cost of food crops. That’s why it’ll take some time to get there.”
In a statement, Qantas said, “it operates the largest carbon offset program in the aviation industry, with around 10% of customers choosing to offset their flights through conservation and environmental projects”. It went on to add, it would now “match every dollar spent on offsets, effectively doubling the number of flights offset”.
Last month, Air France and British Airways had said they would offset all emissions on their domestic flights from 2020.
Engine makers as well as airplane makers are working on plans for hybrid or all-electric engines in order to lower emissions in the future.