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British Airways First Carbon Neutral Flight A Success

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British Airways has flown what it has labeled a “perfect flight” as the airline made the first carbon-neutral flight in its storied history in the past week. The British flag-carrying airline has made the most of an otherwise quiet year, with the flight representing a major step towards achieving its long term goals of being an airline with net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

british airways landing

Air travel has long come under attack from environmentalists, who take issue with the large amounts of carbon emissions that are released into the atmosphere as a result of airplane journeys. British Airways' achievement could help to redefine air travel and the way it could be viewed by many. Here's a closer look at what they have deemed their “perfect flight”. 

british airways US

Carbon Neutral Flight – What Travelers Should Know

For the millions of people around the world who try to embrace greener living practices, the sheer volume of carbon released by airplanes during flights remains an unavoidable conundrum for many. Whilst practices such as taking alternative forms of transport or purchasing carbon offsets have been championed, the sheer practicality and convenience of flying meant that it wouldn't be going anywhere in a hurry. However, eco-friendly passengers may not have to feel guilty in the near future.

british airways boeing 747

In the past week, British Airways – one of the world's largest in terms of both revenue and passengers carried – flew its first carbon neutral passenger flight in what could well be a watershed moment for the aviation industry. The flight in question was flown on an Airbus 320neo flight that flew from London to Glasgow, with a flight duration of just under an hour.

BA airplanes

In order to achieve their carbon neutral flight, British Airways combined a range of different carbon-cutting measures. The flight was run on sustainable aviation fuel, a fuel that sees recycled cooking oil blended with traditional jet fuel. The aircraft itself burns 20% less fuel than others, and also has lighter seats, lighter catering carts, and digital flight manuals and inflight magazines in order to reduce the total weight of the aircraft. Prior to take off, it was pushed back by an electric vehicle, whilst the aircraft also used only one engine when taxiing. 

During the flight itself, weight and wind data were analyzed in order to ensure the airplane was taking the most efficient route to Glasgow. The rest of the emissions from the flight were offset – a practice that involves measures that absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, such as planting trees or restoring peat bogs. Compared to a similar British Airways flight from London to Edinburgh in 2010, Tuesday's carbon-neutral flight produced 65% fewer carbon dioxide emissions.

Speaking about the “perfect flight”, British Airways' CEO and Chairman Sean Doyle said:

“This flight offered a practical demonstration of the progress we're making in our carbon reduction journey. This marks real progress in our efforts to decarbonize and shows our determination to continue innovating, working with Governments and industry and accelerating the adoption of new low carbon solutions to get us closer still to the Perfect Flight of the future.”

british airways fleet

The flight will help British Airways in its bid to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050. British Airways isn't the only airline to commit to such a goal; several other major airlines such as Delta and United have also taken on the challenge.

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