Local air quality issues are of significant concern for local communities, especially those living near airports.
In areas surrounding airports, emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM) are usually considered the most important contributors to local air quality concerns.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), thanks to technological progress, aircraft emissions around airports today are generally low. Since the 1960s, levels of carbon monoxide have come down by 50% and unburned hydrocarbons and smoke by around 90%. Research is targeting a further 80% reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions (NOx) by 2020. The aviation industry is also making substantial investments in cleaner ground support equipment and vehicles to improve local air quality.
In Hong Kong, local levels of air emissions from aviation in Hong Kong have remained relatively stable over recent years at 6% of nitrogen oxides (NOx), 3% of carbon monoxide (CO) and 2% of other air pollutants, according to the latest air pollutant emission inventory published in 2007.
Overall, aviation has a significantly lower impact on local air quality than other source categories, such as road transportation for example).
Source: Hong Kong Air Pollutant Emission Inventory (2007),
In order to comply with the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), we have developed a series of air quality initiatives aimed to reduce the emissions generated by our activities both on the ground and in the air.
Flight operations affect local air quality, especially during take-off and landing. Our climate change initiatives such as investments into new technologies, air traffic management and infrastructure management all help mitigate local air emissions in Hong Kong.
The majority of our air emissions are generated by our ground activities. We have set-up a number of initiatives to mitigate such emissions at Cathay Pacific and across our subsidiaries.
To learn more about our initiatives and progress in addressing air quality issues, please read our annual Sustainable Development Reports.
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