Europe’s air-safety regulator has revealed plans to grade aircraft according to carbon emissions so passengers can make a choice when flying.
The work of developing a ratings system for the carbon emissions of aircraft like those used to grade household appliances’ energy efficiency has already begun, according to Patrick Ky, executive director of the European Aviation Safety Agency.
“Passengers told us they would like to know the environmental performance of the aircraft they are taking,” Ky said in Cologne, Germany. “Customers get smarter and smarter and make more informed decisions about which airlines and airports they use.”
Following the success of Green parties in recent elections to the European Parliament, environmental policies have become more prominent.
Likewise, passengers in some countries seem to be making travel decisions based on environmental issues. There has been a noted reduction in Swedish airline bookings and an increase in rail travel attributed to the phenomenon of flygskam, or “shame of flying.”
Earlier this year, the well-known Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg completed a speaking tour across Europe by train. This has helped bring the concept to a wider audience.
Ky said that similar kinds of ratings systems could be extended to airlines, airports and possibly even maintenance providers.
A comprehensive grading system could prove problematic for airlines with older or larger, more fuel-consuming fleets.
“This is going to be one of the major themes for us for the future,” Ky said. “It is extremely political so we need to be very careful. We want to use indisputable data.”