Airlines are being driven by passengers, but is that driving the right behavior?
At present, much of the work within the cabin revolves around elements that are most visible to passengers: reducing obvious waste, removing single-use plastics, offering lower carbon catering options, and so on.
This is largely admirable. A jute string or a built-in ribbon tie to secure a rolled blanket rather than plastic shrink-wrapping, say, is lighter and less wasteful. It also allows airlines to ‘show willing’ with what are relatively easy, fast and visible wins.
But weight is the most important factor for emissions, so it’s important that the full lifecycle of a product is taken into account — not least to open the door to really smart innovation.
Take a fork, for example. What’s the overall impact of flying a piece of reusable metal cutlery on an overnight flight versus one made of plastics, wood, or bioplastics? How about compared with the overall meal impact of a sandwich wrapped in heat-sealed wax paper, which doesn’t require a fork at all?
Aviation is one of the world’s most innovative industries, and we’re really looking forward to having more conversations about how we can be a part of the sustainability solution.