We’ll get to those $100 fares (we know that’s why you clicked), but first…
It’s no secret that air travel carries a massive carbon footprint. While collectively air travel doesn’t account for as much CO2 in the atmosphere as driving cars does, a single flight from New York to Los Angeles can introduce as much as 65 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. After years of greenwashing, the airline industry is finally beginning to adapt. Australian airliner Qantas has just announced an ambitious goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The aviation industry accounts for about 2% of the total global CO2 emissions, which is why many airlines have pledged to halve emissions by 2050 — returning them to 2005 levels — but Qantas pledge goes beyond that baseline. The company has announced that they will now double the number of flights that they currently offset, cap net emissions from 2020 onwards, and invest $50 million over the next 10 years to help develop a sustainable aviation industry.
“We recognize that airlines have a responsibility to cut emissions and combat climate change. We’ve already made some good progress, especially by investing in newer aircraft that have a much smaller carbon footprint,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce in a statement detailing the announcement.
Currently, Qantas operates the largest carbon offset program in the entire aviation industry with 10% of online Qantas customers choosing to offset their flights. Now Qantas will match every dollar spent by those customers, effectively doubling the money that goes toward Qantas’ conservation efforts in Australia. Qantas is already the largest private-sector buying of Australian carbon credits; they’re hoping this commitment to match their customers inspire more to offset their carbon.
In terms of how Qantas hopes to create a sustainable aviation fuel industry, the airliner plans to work with both governments and private sector partners to make sustainable aviation fuel — which can currently reduce carbon emissions by 8% per flight, at double the price — more viable and cost-efficient.
“Innovation is going to be key,” said Joyce. “We’re investing $50 million to hopefully kickstart a sustainable aviation fuel industry in Australia. We know from our own trials that the technology works but we need to get to a scale of production where it’s a practical substitute.”
Qantas will also replace its entire Boeing 747 fleet by the end of next year with the more fuel-efficient B787 Dreamliners, which burn 20% less fuel than planes of similar size.
Okay, now for the cheap flights: Qantas is also celebrating its 100th birthday this month and from now until November 21st, the airline is offering 100 reduced Economy fares per day for $100 each way from the company’s four gateway cities to Australia. Which means if you live in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas/Fort Worth or Chicago, you can book a flight to Australia for just $200 roundtrip, that’s a steal! If you’re going to Australia you’re going to need a travel guide, in which case, we got you!
The sale fares begin today at 2:00 pm PST with tickets from Los Angeles available until Qantas sells out. Tickets from the other three cities will go on sale each day from now until November November 21st. Head to this special Birthday Sale page from Qantas to grab tickets. At that price, you can definitely afford to splurge by offsetting your carbon.