June 13, 2024

BA and Airbus tackle sustainability at ITM

Discussions around sustainability in business travel were back on the agenda at this week's ITM Conference, where senior figures from British Airways and Airbus tackled the subject - and more - in separate plenary sessions.

British Airways Chairman and CEO, Alex Cruz, highlighted the airline’s sustainability credentials in a keynote address anchored on its centenary celebrations this year.

“There is a change of mindset in the company,” he said. “I’m really encouraged by how people inside the company are creating the necessary pressure for us to be able to act.”

Where once the airline’s ‘fuel preservation department’ talked about cost savings, the currency is now CO2 emissions savings, said Cruz.

The ‘Future of Fuels’ is one strand of BA’s comprehensive centenary celebrations that will see 13 Universities present their findings to the airline, with the winner receiving funding for further research.

“This is not just something we do in our centenary year and then you won’t hear about it again. We are committed to this,” said Cruz.

In total, BA parent company IAG will invest $400million on alternative sustainable fuel development over the next 20 years.

Cruz said the airline has also told all its suppliers that they want to see more sustainable options, “from tooth brushes through to product wrapping”.

Meanwhile, Airbus Senior Vice President, Katherine Bennett, highlighted the aircraft manufacturer’s efforts to work with alternative fuels and design more fuel-efficient aircraft.

“Our engineers thrive on creating new fuel-efficient technology and alternative fuels,” said Bennett, “and short-haul all-electric flights aren’t necessarily that far off.”

The A350, heralded for its fuel efficiency, is the fastest-selling aircraft in aviation history, she added.