VLM promotes green credentials of flying



3 September 2009


VLM Airlines has published a factsheet to dispel the myth that flying within the UK and on short-haul services to Europe is more damaging to the environment than rail.

The document, entitled ‘Setting the Record Straight’, was launched at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Centre for Air Transport and the Environment. It uses independent data to show that aircraft operating domestic and short-haul air links can be greener per passenger than trains connecting the same cities.

In the document VLM Airlines, which flies a fleet of fuel-efficient Fokker 50 turboprop aircraft, argues that rail operators are not taking into account the true environmental impact of their services.

They do this by ignoring the hidden energy burden of their operations. This includes the carbon footprint of the power generation for their services, the huge loss of power during transmission and the massive environmental footprint of constructing, updating and operating railway lines.

When these factors are taken into account sources including SANE, the independent non-governmental organisation (NGO), say that the true average CO2 emissions figures for a regional aircraft would be 95 grams of CO2 per passenger kilometre. The figure for a car with two passengers is 135 grams of CO2 per passenger kilometre and for a high-speed train it is 155 grams – 63 per cent higher than that of a regional aircraft.

The factsheet was published ahead of the unveiling by VLM Airlines of a special ‘Green Machine’ liveried Fokker 50 that will fly on services into London City and Manchester airports.

“While the future of the environment is of utmost concern to all of us, we are alarmed by the growing perception that flying is dirty and rail is green – particularly as it is often untrue,” said Johan Vanneste, Managing Director of VLM Airlines.

“Packaged as an environmental measure, the Government is now planning an unfair tax on aviation that does not take account of different aircraft types being operated. Nor does is consider that it is often greener to fly on domestic services than to travel on a heavily subsidised rail network.”

VLM Airlines is a full service regional airline offering a wide range of high-frequency flights throughout the UK and Benelux.

It flies from London City to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Brussels, Hamburg, Antwerp, Luxembourg, Manchester, Jersey and the Isle of Man. From Manchester, there are daily links to Antwerp and Rotterdam.

The airline’s priority is to offer fast and frequent services. With over 70 per cent of its passengers travelling for business purposes, VLM Airlines understands the demands of travelling professionals. Passengers carrying hand luggage only, can check in just 15 minutes before departure at its London City airport hub.

Once on board, passengers can enjoy a full in-flight service with complimentary sandwiches and beverages.

VLM Airlines’ fleet of fuel-efficient Fokker 50 turboprop aircraft are being fitted with new ergonomic kevlar seats, with a unique reclining function enabling the entire seat to tilt back, offering a more comfortable position which is proven to be ergonomically better.


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