The aerospace and aviation industries should take their environmental critics head-on and build on their track record of the efficient use of resources while contributing to economic growth, says John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer, customers.

“We should not listen to people who want us to do less,” he says. “Let’s do more with less. Our industry has a very good story to tell. There are not many industries that can talk about reducing fuel consumption by 70% over 40 years. This industry is doing more to produce economic value while having less impact on the environment.”He continues his more-for-less theme: “We are flying more passengers but with fewer flights; we are flying more passengers with less fuel consumption; we are flying passengers with less noise; we are flying more passengers with less CO2 emissions.”

Leahy says the aviation industry is critical to wealth generation around the world. While the aviation industry is responsible for less than 2% of global emissions, it was the generator of some 8% of world GDP.

He is critical of those who blamed countries such as India and China for their impact on the environment due to their rapid development.

“We have to figure out how to grow India and China but do it with fewer resources. The issue is not doing less, but doing more with less.”

The “more with less” concept was embodied in Airbus products such as the A380 superjumbo. Leahy quoted a senior BAA executive who said the type would enable Heathrow to handle an additional 10m passengers by 2016 with no increase in flights.

“When it takes off, it makes less than half the noise of a Boeing 747 even though we are putting about 130 more people on board,” Leahy says.

Source: Flight International