Critical analysis of Cathay Pacific’s environmental factor

“In recognizing the small – but high profile – contribution made by aviation to global carbon dioxide emissions, Cathay Pacific is supporting all efforts to reduce fuel wastage and maximize efficiency in its operations.” (Cathay Pacific Airway Limited, 2006:41)

Nowadays, many societies are putting more efforts on environmental issue as it became a global topic. Aviation industry, one of the social cooperates, also has the responsibility on this issue with no doubts. According to International Civil Aviation Organization (2008a), aviation industry is responsible for 2% of global carbon dioxide emission. However it is always being considered as one of the major producers of carbon dioxide emissions (Bistline, 2006). This is because aircrafts discharge those wastages in the sky directly when they are operating. As a result, it has a more severe impact on environment (International Civil Aviation Organization, 2008).

Cathay Pacific is an international airline which has founded and based in Hong Kong since 1946. It is one of the founder members of the “One World” alliance (Cathay Pacific Airways Limited, 2008a). It has played an active role on environmental sustainability for more than 10 years in various aspects.

Firstly, arousing passengers’ concern on environmental problem is another way of its strategy. In 2007, Cathay Pacific has introduced “FLY greener” which is a carbon offset programme which allows clients to set off their carbon footprint by using cash or miles (Cathay Pacific Airway Limited, 2008b). Carbon Footprint (2008) states that “The carbon footprint is a measurement of all greenhouse gases we individually produce and has units of tonnes (or kg) of carbon dioxide equivalent”. Cathay Pacific was the first one to introduce this program and it has spread to other continents like Europe and the United States (China Hospitality News, 2008).

On the other hand, technological changes also have an important role in cutting down the usage of fuel and emission of carbon dioxide. The delivery of Boeing 777-300ER and A330-300 by Cathay Pacific represent the new era of aircrafts. Both of them not only can carry more passengers for longer distances but also decrease the flying time and the use of fuel. It helps to fulfill the goal of consuming less fuel. Furthermore, Boeing 747-200 “Classic” has replaced by Boeing 747-400BCFs which is more efficiency in energy consumption for transportation of air cargo (Cathay Pacific Airway Limited, 2007a).

Therefore, Cathay Pacific is able to enhance 24% of fuel efficiency for the last 10 years (Cathay Pacific Airway Limited, 2007b).

According to the Association of Asian Pacific Airline (2007a), aviation is trying to anything possible in order to save the environment. The AAPA has been coping with different airline on carbon offset scheme which is one of the methods to reduce carbon emission as it can arouse public’s awareness effectively. Moreover, the International Air Transport Association (2008) states that the use of more eco-friendly aircrafts is both medium and long term way to reduce emission of carbon dioxide by aviations. However, the ultimate goal of aviation is to discover non-carbon based fuels so as to achieve zero emissions flying (Association of Asian Pacific Airline, 2007b).

In this project, especially thanks to Mr. Zucco, give me this opportunity to enrich my knowledge of researching. I realized that I am not effective enough in finding information while I was doing the project.