Air Canada is offering customers the choice to reduce the environmental impact of their travel in cooperation with Zerofootprint, a not-for-profit organization that operates carbon offset programs. “Air Canada is committed to giving customers the opportunity to reduce the environmental effects of their travel. We not only want to make it possible for people to make good environmental choices, but we also want to play our part in addressing climate change,” said Charles McKee, Vice-President of Marketing at Air Canada.
“By working with Zerofootprint, we will make it easy for people to calculate the impact of their journey and mitigate those effects with a small, voluntary additional payment to support environmental projects that reduce greenhouse gases.”
Customers booking travel on Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz or their regional partners through www.aircanada.com will have an option to purchase a carbon offset for their trip. They will find information about carbon offsets, a calculator to determine the amount of carbon dioxide their trip will generate and the cost to offset it, and an easy way to pay the cost of offsetting their trip either with their ticket purchase or at another time. For example, based on the specifications of Air Canada’s current aircraft, it will cost $19.20 for a customer to offset their share of carbon emissions on a return flight from Toronto to London and $12.80 for a return flight from Vancouver to Montreal.
“Offsetting makes a real difference to the environment in three important ways,” said Deborah Kaplan, Executive Director of Zerofootprint. “It balances out climate-changing carbon dioxide that is put into the atmosphere by our activities, it highlights the environmental cost of goods and services we buy, and, when you offset with trees, it restores ecosystems, habitats, watersheds, greens communities and creates jobs.”
Carbon offsets are just one way Air Canada is minimizing the environmental impact of its operations. Among other things, the airline has: instituted an active weight reduction program and adopted more fuel-efficient procedures for take-offs and landings; reduced engine usage on the ground during taxiing and ground delays and cut fuel consumption in the air with more efficient flight plans; expanded its on-board recycling program; employed hybrid technology for ground support vehicles; and continually upgraded its fleet, most recently with the addition of new Embraer and Boeing 777 aircraft, with a resulting 28 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency since 1990 and 82 per cent since 1970.
In addition, Air Canada is a lead participant in a voluntary agreement between Canadian carriers and the Canadian government to achieve fuel efficiency improvements of 1.1 per cent per year over the period from 1990 to 2012. Through the International Air Transport Association and the International Civil Aviation Organization, Air Canada is working globally with other carriers on environmentally-friendly reforms of Air Traffic Management (ATM) systems. One example is an initiative through ICAO, where a current proposal to better optimize the European ATM network could result in annual carbon dioxide savings of about 12 million tons, equivalent to removing 3 million cars from European roads.