With the aviation industry set to double in size by 2020, concerns have been raised about it’s environmental impact. At present, aviation is responsible for approx. 3% of emissions, compared to 10% by private motorists. However as the industry grows, so will pollution, noise and harmful emissions. A contentious issue has been the immunity from tax on fuel enjoyed by the industry to date. The immunity is currently being challenged and many airlines are acknowledging that it is only a matter of time before the industry will be held responsible for its contribution to environmental degradation. As a result many of the major UK airlines, airports and aircraft manufacturers eg BA, Virgin Atlantic, Heathrow, Airbus, have begun to collaborate on a strategy for sustainable aviation. http://www.sustainableaviation.co.uk. As part of this, many of these airlines favour an emissions trading scheme over fuel tax. It is argued by Micheal O Leary, Ryanair’s chief executive, that the emissions scheme is punitive to growing airlines. Thus Ryanair has refused to join the sustainable development bandwagon and claims that the main contribution of the sustainable aviation group will be the reduction in emissions, as a result of the bankruptcy of these airlines. http://travel.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,7445,1511906,00.html?gusrc=rss Ryanair has grown substantially despite economic conditions during the last few years, the primary reason for this is it’s low cost strategy. The argument I would like to present is that the incentive for airlines to adopt sustainable development policies is counteracted by consumers voting with their wallets. Airlines, and businesses in general, will face an uphill battle to move towards sustainable development unless we as consumers undertake responsibility for our environment and the choices we make.
Who’s job is it anyway