U.S. airline carbon emissions are increasing fast, says report

3% gain in fuel efficiency outstripped by 7% rise in carbon emissions
American carriers, Frontier, JetBlue, Carbon emissions, Sustainable Aviation, Fuel efficiency

U.S. airlines are increasing their emissions of climate-changing gases much faster than they are boosting fuel efficiency, according to an environmental group’s report.

The International Council on Clean Transportation said that carbon dioxide emissions and fuel burning rose 7 per cent from 2016 to 2018, overshadowing a 3 per cent gain in fuel efficiency, Associated Press reported.

The report’s authors say airlines could reduce emissions and fuel consumption more than 25% by buying newer planes and filling them with more passengers.

Frontier was ranked the most efficient of the 11 largest U.S. airlines. The Denver-based carrier has added more than 40 Airbus jets with more efficient engines. New York-based JetBlue ranked last.

JetBlue spokeswoman Tamara Young said the airline’s score dropped because researchers considered seating density — JetBlue has fewer rows in coach — and it burns fuel by operating more of its flights in congested areas like New York. The airline has ordered more fuel-efficient Airbus jets.

The transportation council is a nonprofit group that works with governments to set fuel-economy standards and pushes for stricter regulations to limit pollution. The council hired the researchers who uncovered Volkswagen’s emissions cheating.

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