Green airplane promoting zero emissions
March 23, 2024

How and Why Airlines are Trying to “Show Green”

Green airplane made out of grass and weeds


A critical conundrum for airlines as they navigate the decarbonisation of the aviation industry is how to demonstrate their environmental credentials, even before the hard work on powering the future of aviation is complete: in other words, how to “show green”, and do it now.


“Airlines want to show green to convey messages of sustainability, eco- friendliness, social responsibility, and a commitment to reducing carbon emissions — and appeal to customers who prioritise sustainable travel options,” Jason Estes, vice president for global sales and marketing, says. “Our customers that are adopting more advanced solutions like our bio products want sustainability without sacrifice.”


In the complex and highly certified cabin environment, this can be a complex ask. At first glance replacing fossil oil-based plastics with bioplastics or recycled materials might sound like an easy win, but bring up detailed issues around ensuring continuity of plastic feedstocks and the repeatability of certification testing for heat release, smoke, toxicity, and flammability criteria.

And, of course, it needs to work just as well, if not better, than what it replaces. “To give an analogy, airlines don't want the paper straw for their customers. The paper straw checks some boxes. However, the experience and the quality of that straw does not give the customer experience and the quality customers have come to expect,” Estes says.


Quality made green airplane seat renewable material


The answer may well be the coffeeshop equivalent of a newly designed bioplastic lid that removes the need for a straw. But whatever it is, the cabin has to both look and feel up to standard.

At the 2023 Aircraft Interiors Expo, Airbus was showing a narrowbody business seat called C Suite using the kind of speckled plastic material that consumers are becoming to understand means that it has been recycled, but does this feel premium enough for a premium cabin?

Aisle view of quality made airplane seat from green renewable material

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