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At Cathay Pacific, we are committed to putting the safety and well-being of our people and customers first, contributing to the communities we fly to and continually improving our environmental performance.

Below are our positions on some of the pertinent issues that are relevant to our business and stakeholders.

While Cathay Pacific supports emissions trading as one of the interim solutions to reduce aviation’s emissions, we do not support the imposition of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to carriers based outside of Europe for several reasons. These include distortion of the market, additional bureaucracy and costs, but most significantly, no guarantee that revenues generated from the scheme will be directed into funding much needed climate change initiatives.

Since 2009, we have been calling for aviation emissions to be regulated under a global sectoral scheme under the United Nation’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) - as opposed to regional schemes such as the EU ETS - which we believe is more appropriate for the global nature of the industry.

Despite our strong opposition, we have been working in full compliance with the EU ETS regulation.

In June 2011, the Airport Authority Hong Kong released its 20-year development blueprint for Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) (“Master Plan 2030”) to solicit stakeholder and public feedback on the airport's future development direction over a three-month consultation period, including the construction of a third runway.

Cathay Pacific supports the plans and believes that expansion of the Hong Kong airport is important to the sustainability of the Hong Kong economy and to ensure the long-term competitiveness of the home hub.

According to Cathay Pacific Group Chief Executive John Slosar, “Connectivity with the rest of the world has made Hong Kong what it is today so we must be clear on how we can maintain and grow these linkages for tomorrow.”

While we acknowledge that aviation has an impact on the environment and climate change, the industry is working to ensure that we are also part of the solution in its commitment to achieve sustainable long-term growth, reduce its environmental impact whilst continuing to generate significant benefits for societies, tourism, world trade and economies.

Under the Hong Kong Airport Authority’s Carbon Reduction Project, over 40 business partners around the airport community pledged to reduce airport-wide carbon emissions by 25% per workload unit by 2015 from 2008 levels (where one workload unit is equal to one passenger or 100kg of cargo). 

Substantial reductions in global carbon emissions are urgently required to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Cathay Pacific acknowledges that:

  • Aviation is estimated to contribute to approximately 2% of man-made carbon dioxide emissions
  • Improved efficiency can be achieved through technological improvements, operations controls and improved air traffic management systems
  • Absolute missions will continue to rise as the industry grows

We are already making a very positive contribution towards addressing climate change by:

  • Measuring and reporting openly on our emissions
  • Working with industry partners and lobbying regulators to support route improvements and address inefficiencies in air traffic management
  • Maximizing efficiency through operational efficiency drivers and fleet development
  • Addressing climate change through the development of a carbon management plan and a carbon offset project

We support the following:

  • The important role that carbon trading schemes can play to help secure the required reduction in global carbon emissions at minimum cost
  • The funding of carbon emission reduction strategies on the ground from any revenues raised through economic instruments
  • The leadership by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in establishing a carbon trading scheme for international aviation

Cathay Pacific will work through IATA and other industry partnerships to facilitate such action.

In 2009, Cathay Pacific joined the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG) - an airline-led industry working group united by the need to accelerate the commercialisation of aviation biofuels by developing robust, global sustainability criteria and best practices for the aviation biofuel markets.

The Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group was formed in September 2008 with support and advice from the world's leading environmental organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Roundtable for Sustainable Biofuels (RSB). The group is focused on accelerating the development and commercialization of sustainable aviation biofuels.

Like all SAFUG members, Cathay Pacific has signed a Sustainability Pledge, and believes that a key driver to a carbon neutral industry is advancing and adopting sustainable aviation biofuels. Sustainable aviation biofuels will perform equal to, or better than, petroleum based fuels and will have a carbon neutral lifecycle - production through use. According to the pledge, these fuels should:

  • Exhibit minimal impact on biodiversity
  • Meet a sustainability standard with respect to land, water, and energy use
  • Do not displace or compete with food crops
  • Provide a positive socioeconomic impact
  • Do not require any special fuel handling equipment, distribution systems, or changes to engine design

Environmental Affairs Department
Cathay Pacific City
8 Scenic Road
Hong Kong International Airport
Hong Kong

Email: environment@cathaypacific.com