Lonely Planet Writer

The best and worst airlines when it comes to carbon emissions

A new study found that Finnair is the cleanest airline company in the world!

Finnair Image by Joi Ito

Research conducted by the global energy school at Warwick University in the UK, created a ranking of the world’s least and most polluting airlines as part of the Carbon Disclosure Project. Of the top five cleanest airlines, all were European except Virgin Australia. The study looks at carbon emissions from the year 2014. It prefaces the results by saying they are not utterly precise because airlines are under no obligation to disclose their data. The study also does not take into account airline mergers like that of Iberia and British Airways or of US Airways and American Airways. Etihad, Ryanair, and Easyjet have begun releasing emission data only very recently.

Ranking of airlines according to carbon emissions
Ranking of airlines according to carbon emissions Image by Warwick University

Nonetheless the research comes to some interesting conclusions, mainly that in spite of airlines introducing all sorts of eco-friendly and carbon-conscious policies, the results do not show any improvement in emissions.

American Airlines is also introducing a profit sharing program for its employees
Image by American Airlines

“The data demonstrates that for most airlines emissions are either growing or stagnant, none are showing a significant reduction in CO2 emissions. This is despite many airlines introducing modern and more efficient planes to their fleet. The increasing number of flights, which is set to double by 2030, means cutting emissions is a real problem.” American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines were the bottom scorers for carbon emissions, whilst Finnair, TAP Portugal, and Virgin Australia were the three greenest airlines.

Read the report here.