Air France steps up environmental drive

London
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Against the backdrop of record high oil prices, Air France-KLM is stressing its environmental commitment as well as pressure on manufacturers to design new more fuel efficient aircraft.

The world's largest carrier outlined its green strategy to the environment in a mid-June conference at its Paris headquarters attended by over 200 media from nearly every market Air France serves.

The conference was designed to communicate the message that Air France reduced its fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by 12% between 2000 and 2006 with similar improvements expected by 2012.

Air France says it is committed to reducing its per passenger fuel consumption per 100km from 3.95l in 2006 to 3.7l in 2012.

This will be achieved mainly through the introduction of new aircraft but Air France also has unveiled plans to save fuel by reducing taxiing and waiting times cutting aircraft weight through lighter seats and onboard equipment and adapting flight procedures to ensure more direct routes and continuous descent approaches.

air france a319
 © Derek Pedley/AirTeamImages.com

"This is continuous ongoing work we've stepped up over the last few months as high fuel prices have emerged," says Air France-KLM chief executive Jean-Cyril Spinetta.

He adds Air France is also trying to persuade manufacturers to accelerate plans to develop new narrowbody aircraft "to meet the environmental needs of our passengers and our need to reduce costs".

He says Airbus and Boeing need to rethink plans to wait until at least 2015 to introduce narrowbodies because these plans were based on $60 per barrel oil prices: "Each has to face a new reality. Things are moving very quickly and dramatically. All of us have to work on a sustainable basis with oil at $100 per barrel or maybe $130 per barrel."