Green Skies Above?
Fans of the BBC mockumentary Come Fly With Me are familiar with Omar Baba, the oily owner of FlyLo, “Britain's 8th favorite low-cost airline.” Under pressure to give his airline some green credentials, in one episode Omar plants a single tree in an airport traffic circle and proclaims FlyLo “carbon neutral.” Fortunately, real airlines are doing a more credible job: Lufthansa recently began scheduled flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt running on biofuel, and Finnair just commenced what it claims are the world’s longest commercial biofuel-powered flights, on the 944-mile route between Amsterdam and Helsinki.
Lufthansa claims its green(er) flights, which run on a 50-50 blend of aviation fuel and biofuel from feedstocks including inedible plants and wood chips, will save 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide over the course of their 6-month trial period. How the biofuel is produced and where it comes from, of course, determine whether or not the carriers are closer to FlyLo-style greenwashing than they would care to admit. For its part, Lufthansa told the Wall Street Journal that “no agricultural land needed for food production was being use to produce biofuel for the plane.”
Image: BBC America