Reinvest 2018: Spicejet To Induct 200 New fuel-efficient Aircrafts in 3-4 Years

Ajay Singh, Co-founder of Spicejet puts pressure on Aviation industry Players to do more for cleaner environment and surprised the audience by announcing that the airline will induct 200 New Technology aircrafts.

The Aviation industry is one of the most polluting industries around, contributing to almost 2% of global Co2 emissions.  When Ajay Singh, co-founder, Spicejet, expressed his surprise at being invited despite being part of the industry, he showed a far higher awareness of the larger picture than most people at the event. For where  Reinvest 2018 has been all about drawing more investments, enabling more manufacturing and doing whatever it will take to support solar and wind, Singh’s self deprecation was a gentle reminder that the purpose behind all this is not just profit, but the environment too.

Talking at length about the historic flight by a Bombardier aircraft of the firm on August 27, with biofuel blended in with aviation fuel, Singh shared how the initial proposal was to blend the fuel in their ground vehicles. A suggestion he disagreed with, as he believed by doing it on an aircraft directly, a bigger message would go out. A point proven by not just the PR burst when it happened, but also by the presence of 6 cabinet ministers at the  flight event.

Ajay Singh also surprised the audience by announcing that the airline will induct 200 New Technology aircrafts which will burn 15% less Fuel, generate 40% less noise in tandem with its dream of clean growth.

He pushed for corporates to ‘punch above their weight’, when it comes to renewable behaviour. Pointing out how the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global trade body of airlines, has set a target of 1 billion travellers on biofuel powered flights by 2025,  he said that despite a 2% share of global traffic, India should go for a target of 100 million people on biofuel flights by 2025. With ever more people switching to flights, its a transition the industry needs to make sooner than anyone expects.

On 27th August SpiceJet tested its first ever biofuel based flight from Dehradun to Delhi using a 25% blend of biofuel. Ajay Singh added that around 500 Jatropha farmers contributed to produce biofuel for that single flight. He further added that if oilseeds are to be harvested from the forests, (which requires no Deforestation), the potential increases substantially.

Singh highlighted how a biofuel refinery has been set up close to the airport in London to make it easier to use the fuel. Urging for a strong push, he described it as a win-win, saving forex, helping farmers, and of course, the domestic aviation industry too.

On asked how others airlines can follow Spicejet’s steps on biofuel, he promptly pointed out that aviation turbine fuel is heavily taxed to around 40-50% and if the government does not impose taxes on bio fuels for aviation, all airlines will make a beeline to convert their fleets .

India’s regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued draft guidelines for aeroplane operators flying on international routes. Under the scheme, all operators engaged in international operations have to capture their fuel consumptions and carbon emissions data annually, starting from January 1, 2019. Further, beginning 2021, the operators will have to meet offsetting requirements by purchasing and cancelling “emission units”.

According to IATA, civil aviation, as a whole, emitted around 859 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, and estimates that between 2021 and 2035, aviation will have to offset 2.6 billion tonnes of the greenhouse gas under CORSIA. “Airlines already have a strong incentive to emit less: an airline reduces its fuel costs by approximately $225 for each tonne of CO2 it is able to avoid,” IATA has noted.

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