Airlines boost green efforts as tourists return

As Japan’s inbound tourism begins to recover, the country’s airline industry is stepping up efforts to offer visitors more sustainable travel amid growing demand for greener trips post-pandemic.

Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) are increasing awareness of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and have submitted a joint report on the demand for SAF to the Japanese government.

Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways are increasing awareness of sustainable aviation fuel

“It’s important to improve people’s understanding of SAF,” Shinichi Inoue, chairman of The Scheduled Airlines Association of Japan and president and CEO of ANA, told attendees at Tourism Expo Japan 2022, while introducing ANA’s SAF Flight Initiative: For the Next Generation.

The programme enables customers using ANA for cargo transportation or employee business trips to pay part of the SAF cost, thereby contributing to the reduction of CO2 throughout their value chain. In exchange, they receive a CO2 reduction certificate approved by third-party organisation GHG Protocol.

ANA is aiming to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions, zero resource disposal and a 50 per cent reduction in food waste by 2050 compared to fiscal 2019.

JAL, meanwhile, will operate its first fully sustainable charter flight from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, on November 18. The chosen craft, the Airbus A350, ordinarily emits 15 to 25 per cent less CO2 than JAL’s conventional aircraft. By using SAF and a carbon offset programme, the initiative will generate net zero CO2 emissions.

The flight “marks a new era of air travel”, said JAL in a statement.

To support local communities and help prevent over-tourism, The Scheduled Airlines Association of Japan is also trying to encourage more travellers to explore rural Japan, shared Inoue.

In 2019, 47 per cent of inbound travellers visited Tokyo but about half of the country saw less than one per cent of international arrivals, according to the Japan Tourism Agency.

As official partners of the National Parks of Japan, ANA and JAL promote flight and travel packages to national parks to encourage enjoyment and conservation of the natural environment.

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