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Airlines are not using the most efficient planes for carbon dioxide reduction, according to a new study by German NGO Atmosfair.

In its annual Atmosfair Airline Index, the organisation revealed that no airlines have invested sufficiently in new fuel-efficient aircraft models such as the Boeing 787-9, Airbus A350-900 and A320neo—and no airlines were ranked A for efficiency.

TUI Airways made the top of the list as the most carbon-efficient airline for the second year running, achieving a B rank. Of other British airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines made it to 7th place and Jet2.com 11th place, while British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways and Flybe achieved 74th, 83rd and 98th places respectively.

Dietrich Brockhagen, executive director of Atmosfair, stated that efficiency improvements were “not sufficient” to meet the targets of 2C or 1.5C set by the Paris agreement, and said: “We need new, synthetic and CO2-neutral fuels and other more radical measures to curb CO2 emissions in the sector.”

British Airways responded to the report by reiterating their commitment to reducing carbon emissions 25% by 2025, from a 2008 baseline.

Airlines not as carbon efficient as they could be, says Atmosfair
Credit: Leio McLaren

Virgin Atlantic Airways, meanwhile, accused the report of misrepresenting the airline, stating that it had reduced aircraft carbon emissions by 23.7% since 2007.

Representative body Airlines UK said: “UK airlines are making enormous efforts to reduce their carbon emissions, and are committed to a global target to cut CO2 emissions from all flights by 50% of their 2005 levels by 2050, through technology, operational efficiency improvements and the use of sustainable biofuels.

“On top of this, in 2016 the International Civil Aviation Organization adopted the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation to address CO2 emissions from international aviation – a global first for any sector."

Carbon-neutral kerosene is one possible solution, said Atmosfair’s Brockhagen. “This is ready technologically, but 10 times more expensive per gallon than fossil kerosene. Who will invest the billions to scale this technology up? If airlines grouped together they could do it, but this would require an international spirit of cooperation over competition, so far rarely seen in the industry.”

Source: The Guardian

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