London City Airport firm in lead for Gatwick

31.5.2009   (Sunday Express)

Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) is tipped as the favourite to buy Gatwick airport — if the sales
process is not put on hold.


GIP, which already owns London City Airport, is facing competition for Gatwick
from Manchester Airports Group, which is bidding jointly with Canadian pension
fund Borealis.

Senior industry sources suggest BAA may not want a rival airport operator such
as Manchester to buy Gatwick as it might turn it into a threat to Heathrow. BAA
said that the sales process was ongoing. Both bidding teams are thought to have
offered £1.3 billion to £1.4 billion, well below Gatwick’s £1.58 billion regulated
asset base value.

BAA may try to delay the sales process until economic conditions improve, the
sources say. It is selling Gatwick to pre-empt a Competition Commission demand
that it do so. The Commission wants to break up BAA’s monopoly by forcing it to
dispose of Gatwick, Stansted and either Edinburgh or Glasgow airports.

BAA recently appointed Blackstone to advise the board on long-term strategic options, including how to use the proceeds of the Gatwick sale. They could be
used to pay down debt. Spanish-controlled BAA has until March 31 to refinance
£1 billion of debt.

The airports operator may also consider some form of capital raising.

Read more »

Biofuels Digest Special Report on Aviation Biofuels: Military Aviation

29.5.2009   (Biofuels Digest)

Military interest in advanced biofuels stems from strategic goals – having a mobile, independent source
of fuels for military applications
. However, the military is also supporting the overall government goals of reducing
fuel usage and associated greenhouse gas emissions. The US military is the world’s
largest consumer of fuel at a rate of more than 340,000 barrels per day and $13.6
billion per year.   The
United States Air Force has set a goal of producing 50% of its fuels by alternative means by 2016.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has said that it is seeking processes that use limited sources of external energy, that are adaptable to a range or blend of feedstock crop oils, and that produce
process by-products that have ancillary manufacturing or industrial value. Current
biodiesel fuels are 25% lower in energy density than JP-8 * and exhibit unacceptable
cold- flow features at the lower extreme of the
required JP-8 operating temperature range (minus 50 degrees F).

DARPA has contracted with groups led by SAIC and General Atomics in algae-to-energy
R&D. DARPA has warned that it may not be able to use commercial aviation biofuels
because of the performance characteristics, such as performance in cold conditions.

The military’s most interesting flight test to date took place last year, when a US Air Force B-1 bomber mission, code named Dark 33, became the first jet to reach supersonic speeds using synthetic jet fuel. The test flight was carried out at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.


*   JP-8, or JP8 (for “Jet Propellant 8”) is a jet fuel, specified in 1990 by the U.S. government. It is kerosene-based.   JP-8 is projected to remain in use at least until 2025. Commercial aviation
uses a similar mixture under the name Jet-A. JP-8 in PIE contains
icing inhibitor, corrosion inhibitors, lubricants, and antistatic agents.   (Wikipedia)

Read more »

Aviation biofuel proves itself in tests, but is there enough?

29.5.2009   (McClatchy)

WASHINGTON — Initial flight tests have found that jet fuel made partly of camelina,
algae or other bio-feed stocks can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes
by more than 50 percent, doesn’t affect performance and presents no technical
or safety problems, a top Boeing official said Thursday.

“It meets all jet fuel requirements and then some,” said Billy Glover, who heads
Boeing’s environmental strategy group.

Glover said a full report on the test flights would be released next month and
aviation biofuel could be approved for use as early as next year. Despite its
promise, however, Glover said the real problem is how quickly growers can start
producing and refiners processing enough biofuel to make it an alternative to
the Jet A fuel used today.

Aircraft account for about 3% of the nation’s [ USA] carbon dioxide emissions,
the principal greenhouse gas, according to the federal Environmental Protection
Agency. Though Boeing doesn’t expect much growth in aircraft carbon dioxide emissions,
some have estimated they could triple by 2050.

Boeing, Virgin Atlantic, New Zealand Air, Continental Airlines and Japan Airlines,
along with GE Aircraft Engines, have conducted four tests using a mixture of biofuel
and regular jet fuel over the past 15 months. The planes involved included wide-body
747s and single-aisle 737s. The biofuels included blends of babassu, sustainably grown coconut oil, jatropha, algae and camelina.

Babassu oil comes from a tree that grows in the Amazon region of South America.
Jatropha is a scrub brush that grows on marginal farmlands. Camelina, which provided
oil for lamps in the days of the Roman Empire but for centuries was dismissed
as little more than a weed, also can be grown on marginal lands, perhaps in rotation
with such crops as dry-land wheat.

Of all the crops, camelina, for now, holds the most promise, Glover said.

Molecular biologists at Targeted Growth, a Seattle company, have used genetic
engineering to develop a super strain of camelina seeds that are being sown on
tens of thousand of acres in eastern Washington, Montana, Idaho, North Dakota
and South Dakota, said Thomas Todaro, the company’s chief executive.

Eventually, camelina could be grown on more than 10 million acres in the U.S.    
In addition to the five states where it’s now grown, Todaro said, it could be
grown in eastern Oregon, in high plains such states as Texas and Oklahoma, and
even as far east as North Carolina and Georgia.

“This year, there were three times more requests for our seeds than we were able
to provide,” he said.

While reluctant to call camelina a wonder plant, Todaro said it could produce
100 to 200 gallons of camelina oil an acre, or about 1 billion gallons a year.
The plant also grows well in Australia, Canada and central Europe. Todaro said
it wouldn’t compete with others crops, such as wheat and corn, because it can be grown on marginal lands or in rotation, and doesn’t require irrigation or heavy use of petroleum-based fertilizers.

Although the world’s airlines consume about 65 billion gallons of fuel a year,
Todaro and Glover said that camelina would be a good start.

In addition, Glover said the test show a camelina blend of aviation fuel reduced
carbon dioxide emissions by more than 80 percent, more than any other bio-feed

“Camelina is very encouraging, but we need a portfolio of things,” he said.

While algae may be the most promising biofuel, it’s still eight to 10 years away
from full-scale production, Todaro and Glover said.

“It could be the great savior, but it’s in its early stages,” Glover said of

“I’d be very careful in hyping algae,” added Todaro, whose company also works
with algae.

The test flights lasted a total of less than six hours, but Glover said the biofuels
have been thoroughly tested in the laboratory. The Air Force and Boeing competitor
Airbus have also been working to develop aviation biofuel.

“As soon as it is approved, we just need to start getting it to the filing stations,”
Glover said.

Read more »

BAA Won’t Sell Gatwick If Bids Are Too Low – CEO

29.7.2009   (Wall Street Journal)

By Kaveri Niththyananthan

LONDON (Dow Jones)–Airport operator BAA Ltd. is in talks with multiple interested
parties over the sale of London’s Gatwick Airport but won’t sell the asset if
bids are too low, its chief executive said Wednesday.

Colin Matthews, chief executive at BAA, told Dow Jones Newswires: “Most people
have an interest to talk down the company and say this is a forced sale so they
can push down the price.”

“We don’t have to sell below a certain price,” Matthews said and added that BAA
wouldn’t sell below that price. He declined to say what price the airport operator
was seeking.

He acknowledged that Gatwick Airport would fetch less than what it would have
received had it been sold last year but added that most interested parties view
the value of the asset on a 30-50 year basis.

BAA, which is owned by Grupo Ferrovial SA (FER.MC), in March was ordered by the
U.K. Competition Commission to sell London’s Gatwick and Stansted airports, and
either of its Edinburgh or Glasgow airports in Scotland, due to competition concerns.

BAA has appealed to the Competition Appeal Tribunal with a hearing set to take
place between Oct. 19 and Oct.21.

Company Web site:

–By Kaveri Niththyananthan, Dow Jones Newswires; 4420 7842 9299;

Read more »

BAA Won’t Sell Gatwick If Bids Are Too Low – CEO

29.7.2009   (Wall Street Journal)

By Kaveri Niththyananthan

LONDON (Dow Jones)–Airport operator BAA Ltd. is in talks with multiple interested
parties over the sale of London’s Gatwick Airport but won’t sell the asset if
bids are too low, its chief executive said Wednesday.

Colin Matthews, chief executive at BAA, told Dow Jones Newswires: “Most people
have an interest to talk down the company and say this is a forced sale so they
can push down the price.”

“We don’t have to sell below a certain price,” Matthews said and added that BAA
wouldn’t sell below that price. He declined to say what price the airport operator
was seeking.

He acknowledged that Gatwick Airport would fetch less than what it would have
received had it been sold last year but added that most interested parties view
the value of the asset on a 30-50 year basis.

BAA, which is owned by Grupo Ferrovial SA (FER.MC), in March was ordered by the
U.K. Competition Commission to sell London’s Gatwick and Stansted airports, and
either of its Edinburgh or Glasgow airports in Scotland, due to competition concerns.

BAA has appealed to the Competition Appeal Tribunal with a hearing set to take
place between Oct. 19 and Oct.21.

Company Web site:

–By Kaveri Niththyananthan, Dow Jones Newswires; 4420 7842 9299;

Read more »

Biofuels Digest Special Report on Aviation Biofuels: Airlines

24.5.2009   (Biofuels Digest)

British Airways. BA   announced that it would test four alternative fuels for a trial in a Rolls
Royce test bed early next year
. The company said that the fuel it chose would not impact food, water or land,
although it did not offer
details on how this would be achieved in a press release.

BA staff newspaper British Airways News said that the term alternative fuels was used instead of biofuels because of the negative association of the
term with
first generation ethanol. The company said that it would test four fuels, and was
seeking up to 15,000 gallons of fuel for the test.

Earlier, BA management characterized of the Virgin biofuels trial as a "PR stunt".

Japan Air Lines. In January, JAL became the fourth airline to successfully flight test biofuels
in the past year
, and the first to successfully demonstrate camelina as a biofuel feedstock.
The airline conducted a one-hour 747-300 flight test using a B50 blend of camelina,
jatropha and algae based biofuel in the
number 3 engine. The jatropha was supplied by Terrasol, algae oil by Sapphire Energy,
and the camelina oil by Sustainable Oils.

The biofuel was 84 percent camelina, 16 percent jatropha, and less than one percent
algae.The fuel was processed by Honeywell’s UOP subsidiary, and supplied by a
joint venture of UOP and JGC, Nikki Universal. In ground
tests conducted yesterday, the pilots reported that the biofuel was more fuel efficient
than 100 percent traditional jet-A fuel (kerosene), a finding consistent with
the Continental test last month, and indicates that biofuels may not only be a
carbon-neutral option, but a more fuel efficient one. Pratt & Whitney, which
manufactures the engines used in the test, confirmed that the biofuel met of exceeded
performance criteria established for commercial aviation jet fuel. Boeing Japan
president Nicole Piasecki said that the company is hopeful of flying revenue passenger
flights within 3-5 years using biofuels.

Lufthansa. Lufthansa said that it would convert up to 10 percent of its fuel usage to biofuels
by 2020
, as a part of its overall effort to reduce emissions by 25 percent in that time
frame. compared to 2006 levels. The company, which announced a set of measures
to improve environmental efficiency, also said that it would reduce NOX emissions
by 80 percent from 2000 levels.

 Malaysia Airlines indicated that the airline expects to convert to biofuels as
soon as they reach commercial viability in Southeast Asia
. The airline’s CEO Datuk Seri Idris Jala made the comments while launching a
"MAS Goes Green" initiative, which channels voluntary funds from customers into
a Forest Research Institute-managed trust fund for sanctioned forest conservation

Air France-KLM. Air France-KLM announced an agreement with Algae-Link to procure algae oil to
be blended with conventional jet fuel
. Deliveries of algae oil will commence by the end of 2008, according to Algae-Link
executives, but quantities were not disclosed.

JetBlue. Airbus and Honeywell recently announced a partnership that they said would replace
up to 30 percent of jet fuel with biofuels
. The partnership, which also includes Jet Blue and the International Aero Engines
consortium, said that they would produce biofuels from algae and other non-food
vegetable oils. The International Aero Engines consortium included Pratt &
Whitney and Rolls-Royce. Fuels will be developed by Honeywell UOP, which last
year won a contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration (DARPA)
to develop biofuels for the US military

. Last December, Continental Airlines became the first US airliner to conduct a
biofuels test flight
. For the Continental test, the Boeing 737, powered by CFM engines, operated
with a 50 percent biofuel blend in the
right side engine during the two hour test program, which included a full power take
off, a climb to 25,000 feet including a fuel pump switch-off, a cruise at 37,000
feet; deceleration/acceleration, descent, engine restart without starter; engine
restart with starter, approach and go around, and landing. Preliminary data showed
that the engines performed as predicted, and the test flight was completed without
a hitch.

Virgin. The World Development Movement called the February 2008   Virgin 747 biodiesel
test flight a "publicity stunt with dangerous consequences for the planet"
and said that Virgin owner Sir Richard Branson "should back a campaign to include
aviation in the climate change bill.

Sir Richard Branson, in remarks surrounding the Virgin 747 biodiesel test flight,
said that algae would almost certainly be the feedstock for commercial aviation
biofuels, implying that the selection of coconut and babassu oil had been made
in light of an algae oil shortage. Branson announced a new business
unit of Virgin Atlantic Airways that would produce algae-based biofuels for the airline’s
use. Branson told reporters that algae is the best fuel feedstock because it does
not affect food supply. He said that his company is "talking to a lot of sewage
plants about setting up algae plants above and using a lot of the CO2 coming off
those sewage plants" and said that using CO2 to produce algae for low-emission
fuels was a "a double-whammy effect."

Air New Zealand. Air New Zealand tested biofuels last December. The airline’s Boeing 747-400 successfully completed a two-hour test flight
with one engine operating on a B50 blend of jet fuel and jatropha biodiesel. Air
New Zealand said that the use of its B50 blend would reduce the carbon footprint
of a 747 flight operation by 25 percent.

The crew operated the flight over the Hauraki Gulf area bear Auckland on New
Zealand’s North Island, and tested the fuels under a wide variety of conditions,
including a full power take off, a climb to 25,000 feet including a fuel pump
switch-off, a cruise at 35,000 feet. deceleration/acceleration, descent, engine
restart without starter at 26,000 feet, engine restart at 18,000 feet with starter,
approach and go around and landing. Tests showed that jatropha biodiesel has a
lower freezing point than standard jet fuel.


Commercial flights by 2012/13, algae the future

In today’s Digest, we present a special report on biofuels aviation, including
in-depth coverage of the path to commercialization, feedstocks, airlines, aircraft
manufacturers, engine makers and policy.


Commercialization outlook

Key: Look for the certification of biofuels for regular commercial
flights by 2012/13. Full report on commercialization.


Key: Jatropha, salicornia, algae and camelina are the likely feedstocks for aviation
biofuels in the 2010s.
Full report on feedstocks.


Key: Global aviation is a key target of research because of the large footprint (5
percent of global fuel usage) plus the unique requirements of fuel burned at
high altitude. Full report on research.

Fuel producers

Key: UOP expects to license their drop-in fuel process this summer. Full report on fuel suppliers.

Military aviation

Key: The military needs biofuels for strategic and logistics reasons, in addition
supporting climate change policy. Full report on military aviation biofuels.


Key: Four airlines have tested biofuels successfully, more in 2009, as airlines aim for 10-30 percent conversion
in the 2010s.
Full report on airlines. (see above)

Aircraft manufacturers

Key: Airbus and Boeing have announced radically different timelines for the widespread
adoption of biofuels in commercial aviation.
Full report on manufacturers.


Key: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has set a goal of making planes 25 percent more fuel efficient by 2022. Full report on policy.

Read more »

Launch of the Eat Seasonably campaign

28.5.2009   (Eat Seasonably website)

A  new campaign   has been launched, called “Eat Seasonably”.

The  campaign was features on  Radio 4 today –  with Patrick Holden of the Soil
Assn.   (       at 0855).

The Eat Seasonably campaign’s website is at:

The aim of the campaign is to get people to be aware of what foods are seasonal
(many people have lost all idea of what is in season, as it all appears on the
supermarket shelves almost every month).     The campaign is very relevant in helping
people to choose foods with a lower carbon footprint, being able to avoid either
products that have been grown in greenhouses, in cold climates, requiring heating
and lighting using fossil fuels – or else products that have been flown or shipped
thousands of miles, also using huge amounts of fossil fuels.

The website says:

“Eat Seasonably celebrates eating the right things at the right time: a crisp
salad when it’s hot and sunny, a wholesome stew when it’s cold; strawberries in
June, Brussels sprouts in December.

Eating seasonably means:

Better taste – top chefs agree that fresh seasonal produce is best

Better value – our research has shown that a basket of fruit and veg bought in the summer
can be as much as a third cheaper than the same basket bought out of season

Better for the planet – growing in season requires lower levels of artificial inputs than at other
times of the year”

“Eating seasonably is also a great way of eating more sustainably. Growing fruit
and veg in season requires lower levels of artificial inputs like heating, lighting,
pesticides and fertilisers than at other times of the year. So seasonable produce
has a lower environmental impact.

Eating seasonably is also a great first step towards thinking about the wider
environmental implications of your diet. In fact, there are many ways to decrease
the impact of what you and your family eat.”

It does not actually mention transport.   However, it has great relevance to anyone
interested in air freight or perishables.

This page says which companies and organisations are involved:

The website aims to provide information on which vegetables and fruits are in
season, each month.   (This bit of the site is still a bit rudimentary, or on its

The campaign  just gets down to celebrating locally grown food, grown out of doors.

The website also says:

“Eat Seasonably is the first campaign from a new initiative called “We will if
you will”, a non-profit project spearheaded by Dame Fiona Reynolds, Director General
of the National Trust, and Ian Cheshire, Chairman of B&Q. The initiative aims
to deliver a series of new and unique collaborative efforts between business and
civil society to encourage the mass mobilisation of individuals towards more sustainable

The Eat Seasonably campaign has been made possible through seed-funding and support
from Defra.”

Individuals can sign up to the newsletter.

Read more »

Public health doctors argue the case against expanding Bristol’s Airport

28.5.2009   (This is Bristol)

Expanding Bristol Airport – will it be good for the city?   Bristol’s Public Health
doctors faced this question in 2006 during the consultation about more flights
and expanded facilities.

The health of people in Bristol depends on many things, including a thriving
economy, the quality of the places we live in, education for our children, the
food we eat, opportunities for safe enjoyable physical activity, a fair and peaceful
society, and so on.   So as Public Health specialists we needed to look carefully
at all the issues.

We all knew that expansion at Bristol Airport was said to be essential because
it would create jobs and because everyone supposedly wants to fly more.   But the
downside was becoming harder to ignore.

It will increase the amount of aircraft noise and the volume of traffic and congestion
through local communities. This will damage health, wellbeing and education for
a sizeable proportion of those living nearby.

We knew that the health damage from noise, heavy traffic, and climate change
were well backed by evidence.

But we wanted to be certain that we were not overlooking potential positive effects
on health from new jobs, and from more people on low incomes being able to holiday

We looked at evidence from a study in Luton, and discovered that it is not the
people on low incomes who are mostly using cheap flights. We also looked carefully
at the reports that had been written on possible economic effects if Bristol Airport
were to expand. These were the Tym Report, carried out for Bristol International
Airport in October 2005, and the Whitelegg Report, done for the Parish Councils
and Friends of the Earth in October 2005. They looked at trends and forecasts,
and made different predictions about economic growth, about jobs at the airport,
in the supply chain for the airport, from inbound tourism, and from construction.

They also suggested there would be losses to the South West economy if more tourists
use cheap flights to go away for weekends and holidays.

We were surprised to find that the predictions of economic benefit in the Tym
report were reached by pretty much ignoring the impending energy crunch, oil price
rises, future green taxes, changes in business behaviour to reduce carbon footprints,
and the impacts of recession.

The University of the West of England report for Business West, published in
January 2008 after our submission, also seemed to overlook these looming restraints
on growth.

The fact that these matters were ignored led us to feel any possible health benefits
from the economic impacts of airport expansion were actually very uncertain.

Our group concluded that on health grounds the damage from airport expansion
would definitely outweigh the possible benefits. We submitted our conclusions,
from the West of England Public Health Climate Change Group, to North Somerset
Council, on December 18, 2006 as part of the consultation.

Two years on, and the International Energy Agency has advised governments to
prepare for inevitable and irreversible decline in world oil production. The Government’s
Stern Report has also said long-term economic damage from ‘business as usual’
and runaway climate change will be massively worse than the short-term economic
cost of changing to a low-carbon economy.

The business case for airport expansion is now looking very shaky. Passenger
numbers are down and people are looking closer to home for their holidays.

Airport bosses argue that more facilities at Bristol will create jobs and help
get us out of the recession.   But others say that new jobs must be in sectors
with a future – such as renewable energy, local food production and local recreation.

The Bristol International Airport company has no responsibility for impacts beyond
their own short-term profits. It is their job to try to persuade us expansion
will be good for Bristol.

But as Public Health specialists we take a broader view and our conclusion is
that expanding the airport will do more harm than good for Bristol people.

Dr Angela E Raffle B Sc (Hons) MB ChB FFPH on behalf of the West of England Public
Health Climate Change Group

Read more »

Airlines set to suffer steep decline in May – says IATA

28.5.2009   (Financial Times)

by Kevin Done

The rate of decline in demand for air travel slowed in April, but preliminary
data for European airlines suggests a renewed steep fall during May.

Giovanni Bisignani, director general of Iata, the international airline trade
association, said on Wednesday "the worst may be over. However, we have not seen
any signs that recovery is imminent."

Air cargo shipments remained "at a shockingly low level," said Mr Bisignani following
a drop year-on-year of 21.7% in April, the fifth successive month in which air
freight has been more than 20 per cent below previous year levels.

All three leading European airlines, Air France-KLM, Lufthansa and British Airways
have reported operating losses for the first three months of 2009 and both Air
France-KLM and BA have indicated they are expecting to make a second successive
year of losses in their current financial years to the end of March 2010.

Long-haul airlines in particular have been hit hard by the steep decline in premium
travel volumes, where they have traditionally generated the bulk of their profits,
as well as by the precipitious drop in air freight.

According to Iata the number of passengers globally travelling on premium tickets
fell by 19.2% in March following a drop of 21.1% in February.   It said premium
fares were falling significantly due to the rapid rise in the number of unfilled
seats.  It estimated that revenues from premium travel were down by 35-40 % in
March and in the first quarter.

Globally Asia-Pacific markets and long-haul markets connected to the region were
the weakest and saw faster declines for premium travel in March.

Iata said on Wednesday that while April’s 3.1% drop in passenger demand was a
clear improvement compared to the fall of 11.1% year-on-year in March, the April
data had been favourably affected by the timing of the Easter holidays. There
had been an underlying fall of more than 5%.

The slower rate of decline last month had also come at the expense of revenues,
as airlines discounted fares heavily in order to fill seats and generate cash.

"We are not out of the woods yet," said Mr Bisignani. "The demand improvements
that we saw in April are welcome. But the 3.1% decline in passenger demand still
outstripped the 2.5% cut in capacity.   There is no improvement in revenues as
yields continue to fall."

Iata said Asia Pacific carriers had continued to see the most significant deterioration
in demand with a drop in passenger volumes of 8.6% year-on-year, which again outstripped
the 7.4% cut in capacity.

Only carriers in the Middle East and Latin America recorded increases in both
demand and capacity in April.

Iata is currently forecasting net losses of $4.7bn this year for the airline
industry up from the $2.5bn forecast made in December reflecting the rapid deterioration in global economic conditions.



see also

The IATA press release


Demand Decline slows – But No Recovery in Sight 

Geneva – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released international
traffic data for April showing a 3.1% decline in passenger demand and a 21.7%
fall in cargo demand compared to April 2008. The average passenger load factor
stood at 74.4%.

While April’s 3.1% passenger demand drop was a clear improvement compared to
the -11.1% fall in March, this improvement should be viewed with caution. Easter
holidays, which fell in the month of April, positively skews the data by at least
2%. Traffic gains were at the expense of yields in most regions. And preliminary
data for May suggests a renewed double digit decline, at least for European airlines.

Freight demand appears to have found a solid floor with a fifth consecutive month
at more than 20% below previous year levels.

"We are not out of the woods yet," said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General
and CEO. "The demand improvements that we saw in April are welcome. But the 3.1%
decline in passenger demand still outstripped the 2.5% cutback in capacity. There
is no improvement in revenues as yields continue to fall. And freight remains
at shockingly low levels. The worst may be over. However, we have not yet seen
any signs that recovery is imminent," said Bisignani.

International Passenger Demand

  • International passenger demand declined by 3.1% in April.
  • Load factors improved to 74.4% in April (compared to 72.1% in March); however
    this is slightly distorted by high volume holiday travel. Forward schedules show
    a return to previous-year capacity levels by the end of the third quarter. Without
    a corresponding sharp improvement in demand, load factors are likely to decline
    rather than improve.
  • Asia Pacific carriers continued to see the most significant demand deterioration. Their 8.6% fall
    outstripped capacity adjustments of -7.4%.
  • An acceleration of fare discounting saw demand increase on North Atlantic routes.
    North American carriers, who experienced a 13.4% drop in demand in March, saw this reduced to -4.2%
    in April. The capacity adjustment of -4.0% much more closely matched the fall
    in demand than in March when there was a 7.7 gap of points.
  • For European carriers, the 11.6% decline in passenger demand reported for March improved to -2.7%
    in April, closely matching the capacity adjustment of -2.6%.
  • Middle Eastern carriers saw demand growth in April of 11.2%, against a capacity expansion of 12.3%.
  • Latin American carriers saw demand expand by 7.5%, outstripping a capacity increase of 6.0%.   Nonetheless,
    Latin American carriers recorded the weakest load factor, 71.2%.
  • Africa’s carriers experienced a 7.1% fall in demand, outpacing the capacity cut of 5.0%.

International Cargo Demand

  • Air freight continues at very weak levels. International cargo was down 21.7%
    in April compared to previous year levels. This is the fifth consecutive month
    in the -20% range. This sideways progression may indicate that we have seen the
    worst of the economic downturn. Business confidence is improving, but inventories
    remain high. Until inventories adjust to more normal levels, air freight volumes
    will likely continue to bounce along the bottom.
  • Carriers in all regions showed double digit declines. Middle Eastern carriers were the strongest performers at -11.1%. European, North American, Asia-Pacific and African carriers had similar performance of -23.3%, -22.4%, -22.3% and –18.8% respectively. Latin American carriers were the worst performers at -24.2%.

"With each day of the recession, the challenges for the air transport industry
are mounting. Flexibility has never been more important. But there is not enough
of it. Airlines remain constrained by old rules that restrict basic commercial
freedoms such as access to markets and capital. Much of the cost base remains
out of our control – from volatile fuel prices to monopoly infrastructure charges.
And many governments simply don’t understand the need for urgent change. We need
a change in mindset. To manage through this ongoing crisis, every player in the
air transport value chain must be prepared to drive change," said Bisignani.

The 65th IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit will take
place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 7-9 June. On the agenda of the 600 industry
leaders expected to attend will be the industry’s top priorities, including safety,
environment, infrastructure charges, taxation and liberalization. Working journalists
are invited to attend this by-invitation-only event. Registration and program
information can be found on the AGM website:


View full April traffic results

For more information, please contact:

Anthony Concil

Director Corporate Communications

Tel: +41 22 770 2967


Read more »

What is the real climate impact of flying and what can we do about it? (BBC info)


( from       – written in 2008)

What is the real climate impact of flying and what can we do about it?

Whenever the debate over climate change is aired – flying, and the harm it does
in terms of
CO2 emissions, is to the fore.   As you’ll see from the actions elsewhere on the
BBC “Bloom” site,
skipping a long-haul flight (see below) can be one of the most effective ways to cut our carbon footprint.

Yet the UK aviation industry claims it’s responsible for only a modest 7% of
the country’s
greenhouse gas emissions. And if that’s true, can flying really be so bad?

Links to the BBC “Bloom” website:
  • What’s the problem?

    While aviation emissions may seem relatively low now, they are growing faster
    than any other source of
    greenhouse gases in the UK. Brits currently take 200 million flights a year but if air travel
    continues to increase at current rates this will rise to 600 million by 2030.
    The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research estimates that before 2050, UK
    aviation emissions could exceed the emissions budget of the whole UK economy,
    wiping out hard-earned reductions in other areas.


    What can we do?

    We can fly less. Like it or not, analysts say that is the simplest way to reduce
    passenger numbers in time to stop dangerous levels of climate change. But there
    is good news: we don’t have to give up flying altogether. In fact, the majority
    of flights are taken by a small percentage of people who fly frequently. In 2007,
    for example, a third of all flights were taken by just 4% of the population who
    took five or more flights a year. So the most effective change would appear to
    be for frequent flyers to dramatically cut their air miles, while those of us
    who fly more than twice a year cut down a little.

    It needn’t mean missing our holidays either: since 27% of flights from Britain
    go to Spain and 50% to the rest of Europe, taking the train is an increasingly
    viable substitute.

    Choosing to fly less often, to holiday in Britain or to visit Europe by train instead of flying offer some of the most significant CO2 savings of any personal action.


    Can technology help?

    As yet there’s nothing that will prove effective enough soon enough to significantly
    reduce aviation’s impact on climate change, but various proposals exist to improve
    the efficiency of flying:

    • Better air traffic management systems – this would include filling planes to capacity and therefore scheduling fewer
    • More efficient planes such as the Airbus A380 could reduce emissions compared to older aircraft, but it would take decades
      to replace existing fleets and the savings are being outweighed by air traffic
      growth. Planes are becoming more efficient by about 1% a year, while the industry
      grows by 7% a year
    • Alternative fuels – aircraft have flown on biofuel blends in recent test flights, but they are
      unlikely to be used on regular flights in the foreseeable future while technical
      issues remain to be addressed. There are also significant question marks over
      the sustainability of
      biofuels. The first manned hydrogen fuel cell plane recently carried two people in a
      test flight conducted near Madrid, but scaling this technology up for commercial
      passenger jets is expected to take at least 20 years, and would create contrails,
      which may further warm the climate
    • Airships – you may laugh, but an airship running on non-flammable helium is one of the
      least polluting forms of passenger travel. An Atlantic crossing to New York would
      take around 45 hours. Before you rush to buy your ticket, this route is not yet
      commercially viable
    • Flying more slowly – in a bid to reduce fuel, Belgium’s Brussels Airlines have cut weight on aircraft
      and started to fly more slowly on certain routes. This adds a minute or two to
      journey times and saves 1 million Euros on their annual fuel bill. Planes on other
      routes currently fly at pre-set speeds, putting a limit on such savings



    What are the politicians doing?

    Political progress on reducing aviation emissions might be categorised as, at
    best, uneven. Unlike with trains, buses and cars, international flight emissions
    are not included in the
    Kyoto protocol (the legally binding inter-governmental contract to reduce greenhouse gas emissions).
    The reason for this omission, say governments, is that flights cross many international
    borders, making it hard to identify who’s responsible for aircraft emissions.

    Aviation will, however, be included in the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) – but not until 2011. The Department for Transport anticipates plane travel
    emissions will be capped at 2004/6 levels. Even then, scientists at the Tyndall
    Centre suggest the ETS will do little to reduce actual plane travel emissions
    because airlines will be able to increase passenger numbers through buying in
    extra permits. And they predict that the small price rise proposed for plane travel
    under the ETS will deter very few people from flying.

    Meanwhile, UK government aviation policy – as set out in the 2003 aviation white paper – seems sure to result in large-scale aviation expansion, including a third
    runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow. And Britain looks set to expand its airports
    around the country on a scale greater than that envisaged by any other European
    nation. Air operators claim this will benefit passengers by cutting congestion.
    Campaigners respond that making flying more appealing will simply increase demand,
    in turn increasing the need for further new airports and runways – a pattern demonstrated
    by recent road-building policies which, they argue, have actually increased traffic

    Another criticism of Britain’s aviation policy is that the industry has an effective
    subsidy of around £10 billion a year as no tax is levied on aviation fuel in the
    UK, and plane tickets are VAT-free.

    The government defends its policy on the grounds that aviation is critical to
    supporting the UK’s world status as a hub for finance, industry and tourism.


    What’s the climate impact of aircraft emissions?

    Flying injects exhaust emissions directly into the upper part of the atmosphere,
    where they cause the most damage. The effects of the resulting mix of chemical
    reactions are complex and hard to calculate, occurring over timescales between
    three days and 100 years. Even so, scientists believe that between 1992 and 2050,
    the overall impact of these emissions will prove somewhere between 1.2 and four
    times that of CO2 at ground level. [This is now established, by the IPCC as x 3.   See link].       (Contrails add to this mix of effects. Made up of soot and water vapour,
    scientists know that in some weather conditions contrails cause cirrus clouds
    to form, which warm the climate further, though these effects are as yet poorly

    What difference does this make in practice? Well, the CO2 emissions of a return flight from the UK to Malaga for example are 480kg.  If you multiply by the lower estimate of 1.2, the true
    extent of the damage would be 570kg – the same amount of CO2 saved by
    recycling nearly 15,000 green bottles. At the upper end, emissions could top 1900kg. [
    Multiplied by 3 it is about 1440 kg of CO2].

    This factor is also relevant when assessing the overall contribution of aviation
    to UK emissions. The government’s figures on the climate change impact of flying
    are calculated based on domestic and international departures from the UK and
    suggest it contributes only about 7% of the country’s CO2 emissions.   But because of the extra impacts, research suggests that it’s likely
    to create something closer to 11% [ more like 18% of the UK’s climate changing  impact,
    using the new multiplier of 3].   of our national total.



    Sky-high carbon savings for skipping a guilt trip

    Long-haul trips have the biggest climate impact of all our travel. Even with
    jumbo carbon savings on offer, this is a tough luxury to quit.

    The ‘jet set’ isn’t as exclusive as it used to be – more of us are flying further
    than ever before.

    This has made flying one of the world’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions.  By 2050 plane travel looks set to undo all the carbon savings we make elsewhere.

    So what’s the alternative?   Taking the train to Europe or holidaying in the UK could substitute for a long-haul holiday.  Otherwise taking the time to travel
    overland could be the only solution.

    Skipping a long-haul flight is one of the most effective climate-friendly actions you can take – but can a holiday with a clear conscience overcome the
    allure of exotic destinations?

    How will it make a difference?

    The most accurate figures available suggest that a return flight to Thailand emits over 2000kg of CO2 equivalent per passenger, adding 50% to their annual direct emissions.   To save
    that amount by eating local seasonal food, for example, would take a full year.

    What’s the debate?

    It’s hard to state exact savings because of scientific uncertainty about the
    additional effect
    emissions have at high altitude. These could be up to four times as damaging as those
    at ground level.
    [This is now established, by the IPCC as x 3.   See link].       


    How do I do it?

    No other form of transport can cross continents as quickly as flying; this action
    requires a change of outlook.



    What’s stopping me?

    “Don’t planes only create about 2% of global CO2 emissions?”

    While 2% sounds small, it equates to millions of tonnes of CO2 on a global scale.  In the UK flying contributes 7% of emissions and is growing
    fast.   [This figure is now out of date.   Aviation contributes about 2% of the
    anthropogenic CO2, and multipied by 3 for its extra climate changing effect, aviation  globally  now
    contributes 4.9% of climate change worldwide     – see new IPCC information from
    May 2009 – see link   – about 18% of the UK’s climate changing effect].

    “But don’t developing countries depend on money from tourism?”

    While it’s true that tourism is a major source of income for developing countries,
    wealth from tourism will not necessarily ‘trickle down’ to all.

    Using an example of a Kenyan game safari, author George Monbiot argues that very
    little of the entrance fee to the game reserve will go to providing amenities
    for local people, whereas the impact of the flight contributes to worsening famine
    in other parts of Africa.

    If this is your concern, you could improve matters by opting for local ‘home
    stays’, for example, where you can ensure money goes directly to people you visit
    and not to a middleman or travel agent.

    “Can’t we offset flying by planting more trees?”

    Offsetting is a controversial issue; many claim it’s not an effective substitute
    for reducing emissions.   [Merely paying for someone else, somewhere else in the
    world to cut their emissions, on our behalf, is not a real solution.   Cutting
    our own emissions is the only effective solution.   Believing that by paying the
    “penance” of the offsetting cost enables people to think they can carry on flying
    with a clear conscience.   That is not justifiable].

    from the BBC   Bloom website

    Pub Facts  about flying, from the BBC:

    One short-haul flight has the same potential to warm the climate as three months
    worth of driving a 1.4 litre car

    Less than half of Brits fly for their holidays

    The average annual income of Heathrow passengers is £54,488

    In 2006, British airports handled more than 200 million passengers and it is
    predicted that that number will double over the next 15 years

    56% of people are concerned about the environmental effects of air travel, but
    only 10% have reduced the number of flights they take

    One flight to Sydney generates emissions equivalent to driving a mini around
    the earth 640 times

    To avoid more expensive airspace, certain airlines take longer routes to the
    Canary Islands, creating an extra three tonnes of CO2 per flight

    Over 10 years, all UK CO2 emissions (transport, farming, housing and construction) fell by 9%, apart from
    flight emissions, which doubled

    One short-haul flight has the same potential to warm the climate as three months
    worth of driving a 1.4 litre car

    A third runway at Heathrow is predicted to raise CO2 pollution by the equivalent of the national output of Kenya

    Over half of Brits never fly

    Flying to Australia and back is the energy equivalent of leaving over 15 low-energy light bulbs on for a year



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