The Air Transport Association released its 2008 Economic Report, which reveals that U.S. airlines reduced 2.5 billion metric tons of CO2 from 1978 to 2007; that’s the equivalent of taking 18.7 million cars off the road over the 29 years.
In 2007, U.S. airlines emitted 11.2 billion fewer pounds of CO2 than in 2000. In addition to retiring less fuel-efficient aircraft, U.S. airlines retrofitted aircraft resulting in using 538 million fewer gallons of fuel than in 2000, while being able to carry 20 percent more passenger and cargo traffic.
ATA Board of Directors also approved a comprehensive plan to further limit aircraft emissions and committed to improving fuel efficiency by another 30 percent on top of prior improvements. That would equate to an additional 1.2 billion metric tons of CO2 saved or another 13 million cars taken off the road each year.
Proposed U.S. emission-trading legislation could leave airlines with a $9 billion annual bill in carbon costs.
At the third annual Aviation and Environment Summit in Geneva in April, airlines, airports, and aircraft makers pledged for the first time to cut their emissions.