Qatar Airways has signed a ground-breaking agreement with aviation industry body IATA to spearhead a truly global carbon offset trading scheme designed to help fund global environmental projects. Under the revolutionary programme, when passengers book their tickets, they can choose to pay a little extra to offset the carbon footprint for the particular flight being taken, with proceeds going towards international programmes recognised by non-government organisations.
The IATA system calculates the carbon footprint for different flight sectors and passengers are able to select which of the many programmes to support with the extra they contribute. A number of international community projects in developing nations will benefit from the programme, which is yet another committed move by Qatar Airways as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the carbon offset trading scheme was a further step by the airline to forge ahead with an environmentally-friendly programme. “Qatar Airways is committed to engaging, creating and developing CSR programmes in the interests of the environment and the people who fly with us,” he said. “Society worldwide is becoming ever more conscious on the impact of climate change on our daily lives. It has affected, is affecting and will continue to affect the world – and the onus is very much on the corporate world to ensure we strive towards zero carbon emissions to make the world a safer and cleaner place. Much has been documented by environmental groups and industry bodies over the years about the impact the aviation industry is having on society, and we must collectively address these as practically as possible."
Al Baker added that Qatar Airways was investing heavily in new, modern and cleaner aircraft which, he stressed, was a concerted effort to keep the carbon emission count at its minimum and, in doing so, reduce the impact on the environment. “Through this new scheme which Qatar Airways is engaging with IATA, we will be able to give passengers the choice to join us in helping fund projects around the world that need our help to ensure livelihoods are safeguarded and communities are sustained,” said Al Baker.
The IATA system is being developed over the next four months. Once passengers book online or through Qatar Airways or a travel agent, they will be prompted if they want to pay extra to offset the carbon footprint.
If they choose to do so, they are directed to a carbon offset website which calculates the carbon footprint for the particular sector being booked. In doing so, passengers are able to then select from a range of named international environmental projects to support.
Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 68 Airbus and Boeing aircraft to 84 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, South Asia, Far East and North America. During 2009, Qatar Airways will expand its global operations with the launch of 6 new routes – Sydney and Melbourne in Australia; Goa and Amritsar in India; and two further cities in Europe.