MARRAKECH, Morocco , Jan. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Low-cost airline Atlas-Blue is today the first carrier in Africa and second in Europe , to offer carbon offsets as an integrated part of its booking platform. At a time when the environmental impact of air travel is increasingly important to consumers, Atlas-Blue passengers reserving a flight on its website www.atlas-blue.com now have the option of cancelling out harmful carbons emitted during their trip by contributing to carbon-neutralizing projects around the globe. The offset program powered by Airsavings SA, a global supplier of back-end technology to low-cost carriers, calculates flight emissions based on distance travelled, fuel consumed, load factor, capacity and radiation effect. The program computes a monetary contribution based on these coordinates sufficient to neutralize the carbon emitted. Contributions go directly to ActionCarbone, a European-sponsored nonprofit organization that funds carbon-offsetting projects like tree planting and alternative energy implementation across the world. ActionCarbone (www.actioncarbone.org) is backed by ADEME, France's government agency for environment and energy issues, and is operated by GoodPlanet, an NGO that promotes sustainability and ecological preservation.
Atlas-Blue's move comes just as the European Union's first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2008-2012) begins. Although air travel is not expressly covered, reducing emissions generated during flight is seen as integral to meeting obligations outlined by the protocol. For Atlas-Blue, providing carbon offsets to passengers is also very good business sense. In just two years, the subsidiary of Royal Air Maroc has become the largest e-commerce airline in the southern Mediterranean region, serving many major European cities. The carrier operates a young fleet of A320 aircraft, reflective of its commitment to sustainable development by deploying energy-efficient planes.
"Demand for a way to effectively cancel out climate-changing effects inherent to air travel is very high on our customers' list of priorities," says Raphael Bejar , CEO of Airsavings SA. The company provides revenue generation and other solutions for low-cost airlines, focusing on improving their profitability. "Travelers are very concerned about their carbon footprint; offering them a way to minimize the impact of their flight on the environment allows us to meet their wishes and add value to the Atlas-Blue experience."
The program on Atlas-Blue's website is the first dynamically integrated offset initiative; whereas other airlines offer a flat-fee offset based on averages, Atlas-Blue calculates contributions based on distance as determined by GPS coordinates. Passengers also have the option of electing not to contribute.