Sharp increase in emissions by Dutch aviation sector: report

KLM Boeing 737-700, PH-BGP at Schiphol Airport
KLM Boeing 737-700, PH-BGP at Schiphol AirportSaschaporsche / Wikimedia Commons

The amount of greenhouse gasses emitted by Dutch airlines increased significantly in the past five years. TUI Airlines Nederland saw its emissions increase by 74 percent, Corendon by 70 percent, Transavia by 33 percent, and KLM by 18 percent, NOS reports based on figures from the Dutch emissions authority NEa.

The NEa supervises compliance with the European emissions trading system. Of the sectors covered by the NEa it is only aviation that saw such a significant increase in emissions. The cement- and glass production sectors saw minor increases, of 0.5 percent and 1.1 percent respectively. All other sectors reduced their emissions in the past five years.

These figures only include flights within Europe, because they are the only figures that are kept. If international flights are included, emissions from the Dutch aviation sector may be up to five times higher, according to NOS. 

Despite the increase in emissions, the Dutch aviation sector still only accounts for a small share of the national emissions. Annually the aviation sector's emissions is comparable to the emissions of 600 thousand homes. But if the aviation sector's emissions continue to increase, while other sectors decrease their emissions, aviation may eventually be the largest emitter in the Netherlands.

In a response to NOS, KLM said that it takes the climate seriously. "But aviation has the challenge that there is not yet a good alternative to the use of fossil kerosene." The airline strives to fly more efficiently and use more sustainable fuel. "In addition, we have set the ambition to achieve an absolute CO2 reduction of 15 percent by 2030 when compared to 2005", KLM said to the broadcaster. "This is a step towards the 2050 objective of the international aviation organization IATA to reduce aviation's net CO2 emissions by 50 percent in 2050 compared to 2005."

TUI told NOS that the airline increased its number of flights, which resulted in the higher emissions. "This says nothing about emissions per passenger per kilometer", the airline said to the broadcaster. "To determine the actual environmental impact, it is important to look at emissions per passenger per kilometer. At TUI, this has fallen by 21 percent over the past 10 years." According to TUI, it is investing in cleaner aircraft and aims to achieve the highest possible capacity per flight to utilize fuel consumption as efficiently as possible."

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