June 03, 2008


I can't seem to find that article I was reading a little while ago about an Airbus A380 that powered 20% of its electronics system through a green alternative. A large, PR Friendly photo of the airbus was framed nicely by yet another “Green is good” or “Clean Green” slogan, painted generously on its thick flank. Cute. Environmentally concerned. We like it.

There has been a moderate amount of movement in this industry to go green. Airbus and JetBlue just announced that they were studying how to generate Jet fuel from bio-alternatives-- algae being a main source (it is a great CO2 absorber). There was a Virgin Atlantic flight that was powered by a 20% biofuel mixture from coconut oil. Promises from other carriers to follow down a similarly environmentally friendly path and regulators vowing to assist wherever they can.

Of course, these days when one discusses the aviation industry one is really addressing how rising oil prices and recession have clobbered large, international companies. Green initiatives have been overshadowed in the media and put on the back burner by airline companies that have more pressing battles to fight. I was just emailed photos of the diamond studded Mercedes of some sheik and the all silver Audi S8 of a Saudi prince, they are last years models, which in oil producing country lingo means “time for replacement.” At least someone is benefiting from $130 + a barrel.

In my opinion there are two beacons of light at the end of this tunnel:

1) the green industry is in its infancy and offers a plethora of opportunities.

2) There are no state owned corporations in China that have addressed going green for aviation.

When you consider that the Chinese appetite for airplanes seems to be insatiable these days. Focusing on the mainland is a viable short, mid and long term strategy for most small/mid sized,environmentally focused company. Flying greener skies has taken a distinctly dollar green shade.

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