Paying it forward: Malaysia Airlines passengers can offset their carbon emissions soon

Melanie Chalil
The flagship carrier said it is exploring various initiatives for passengers to be involved in reducing CO2 emissions from flights. — Picture by Boeing

PETALING JAYA, June 25 — So we’ve all heard about refusing single-use plastics or taking shorter showers to reduce your carbon footprint.

But what about voluntarily paying for the emissions caused by the flight you are on as you tick exciting holiday destinations off your bucket list?

Here’s one for environmentally conscious travellers: Malaysia Airlines passengers will soon be able to pay to offset their flight’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

A representative of the flagship carrier told Malay Mail it was currently exploring ways for customers to take part in a global effort to minimise the airline industry’s CO2 emissions through a carbon offset programme.

“Malaysia Airlines is exploring various initiatives available for its passengers to participate in CO2 emissions offsetting initiatives, internationally or domestically,” a Malaysia Airlines representative said.

Malaysia Airlines said it will work with the relevant “authorities on the regulatory mechanism for carbon offsetting.”

Flying adds a significant amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. — Picture by Unsplash

What is carbon offsetting?

Flying releases significant amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and carbon offsetting is one of the ways to achieve carbon neutrality.

When buying an offset, that contribution goes to support projects that reduce greenhouse gases and can come in many forms as a way to compensate for CO2 emissions caused by the flight you are on.

Some examples include renewable energy, community development, forestry or any form of sustainable development.

The global airline industry currently produces two per cent of man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The rising global concern of carbon emissions have prompted the aviation industry to address its environmental impact and was one of the main discussion points at the recent 75th International Air Transport Association (Iata) annual general meeting in Seoul, South Korea.

The AGM was attended by several representatives of Malaysia Airlines — the only Iata member in Malaysia — including its chief executive officer Captain Izham Ismail.

During an environment briefing at the AGM, it was announced that the industry was making headway in achieving its climate goals through encouraging the use of fuel-efficient aircraft and sustainable aviation fuels, operational measures that burn less fuel and navigational improvements such as reducing flight time through better routes and optimising airport layout.

What is Malaysia Airlines doing to reduce its carbon footprint?

On top of carbon offsetting, the national carrier its sister companies under the Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) are looking at new aircraft technology, improved operating processes and sustainable alternative fuels.

“Malaysia Airlines has already begun conducting studies to reduce fuel consumption in its operations, for cost effectiveness as well as to protect the environment,” its representative said.

Last year, the airline rolled out an innovative fuel savings solution known as SkyBreathe.

“This system assists the airline in analysing its flight data recorders to assess a flight’s efficiency which allows the airline to implement the appropriate best practices for fuel savings.”

Offset programmes can come in the form of renewable energy, community development or forestry. — Picture by Unsplash

Malaysia among the first countries to volunteer in Corsia

The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (Corsia) aims for the aviation industry to achieve carbon neutrality from 2020 onwards.

It is the first global carbon pricing tool for an industry developed by the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Corsia is committed to cut CO2 emissions by 50 per cent by 2050 compared with 2005.

“Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) has been actively engaging with the government of Malaysia to support Corsia even before it was voted by ICAO Council States in 2016.

“As a result of our engagement, Malaysia is amongst the initial countries to volunteer in the Corsia programme before it becomes mandatory in 2027,” Malaysia Airlines said.

The cost to offset a one-way flight from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne on Qantas is calculated at A$9.04 (RM26.14). — Screengrab from Qantas

Airlines that offer passengers carbon offsetting

  • Qantas, Australia
  • Emirates, UAE
  • British Airways, UK
  • Delta Airlines, US
  • Virgin Australia
  • Air New Zealand
  • Jetstar
  • United Airlines, US
  • Air Canada
  • JetBlue Airways, US
  • Gulf Air, Bahrain

Related Articles Dr M: Govt wants to sell Malaysia Airlines but retain its identity Mat Sabu warns Malaysia Airlines after flight delay made him miss meeting PM PM: Tidak berbaloi jual jika Malaysia Airlines terus gagal