Emissions trading is set to be the hottest discussion session this EBACE. Over the space of 12 months environmental concerns have dominated headlines in the European media.

Panellist Mark Wilson is chief executive of the British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA), which has launched an industry-wide carbon-balancing scheme. He says: “Aviation cannot operate in a vacuum away from the environmental concerns of the world. We feel there are more environmental efficiencies to work on, rather than simple carbon trading. The premise is that a sustainable economy is based on a healthy environment.”

He says aviation “absolutely depends on fossil fuels. As an industry we are trying to use fossil fuels in a considerate way and recognise we need to offset the impact of their use. We are putting together a scheme with a good portfolio of verifiable offsetting projects, taking some of the risks out for operators. We would like to harness the entire industry, not just take a piecemeal approach.”

He believes business aviation generally uses modern aircraft, “which are much newer than those used by flag carriers, and with class-leading technology, with the goal of reducing fuel consumption. In terms of noise pollution, if you are based around the south-west of London, I can guarantee that Farnborough is much closer than Heathrow, but you will only hear aircraft coming from Heathrow.”

He refutes the argument that business aviation flights produce a heavy carbon footprint when they have only one or two people on board, or perform empty ferry flights. “The aircraft are much more efficient, and there will not be 98 empty seats on board. You have to look at the economic value of the flight. If the aircraft is full of people going for a party in one city, there is not an awful lot of benefit for the wider economy.”

The other key theme to emerge is the impending lack of landing slots at secondary airports. Luton airport was flagged as a hub looking increasingly likely to suffer the consequences as low-cost carriers mushroom. Berlin’s Schoenefeld may also possibly feel the pinch with the imminent closure of Tempelhof.

Source: Flight Daily News