Finnair is the cleanest airline in the world according to new study, while THREE major US airlines are among the dirtiest

  • Study from Warwick University ranked major airlines using emissions data
  • Rankings were made from data from 2007 to 2014 for 19 carriers
  • AA, Delta Airlines and United Airlines are dirtiest, scientists claims 

Finnair is the most eco-friendly airline in the world, according to a new study.

Research carried out by Warwick University claims that TAP Portugal and Virgin Australia are also among the least polluting carriers. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, American Airlines was found to produce the highest amount of greenhouse gases, followed by other US carriers, including Delta Airlines and United Airlines.

A study from Warwick University ranked major airlines using emissions data supplied to the Carbon Disclosure Project. In 2014, Finnair was the cleanest airline among them

A study from Warwick University ranked major airlines using emissions data supplied to the Carbon Disclosure Project. In 2014, Finnair was the cleanest airline among them

The information, tracked between 2007 and 2014, showed that the majority of airlines saw an increase in their carbon footprint

The information, tracked between 2007 and 2014, showed that the majority of airlines saw an increase in their carbon footprint

The study was conducted by Dr Frederik Dahlmann, an assistant professor of global energy at Warwick Business School, using data recorded between 2007 and 2014 as part of the Carbon Disclosure Project.

Ranking of the world's cleanest airlines were made of the results from 2014.

Apart from Virgin Australia, all of the top five clean airlines were based in Europe while those in the USA faired badly. 

However, Dr Dahlmann concedes that the rankings are not precise.

As there is no obligation from the airlines to supply the data, Dr Dahlmann was only able to collect emissions information for 20 major airlines.

Some, like easyJet, Etihad and Ryanair, have only recently started releasing emissions related data.

Airline mergers also made rankings difficult. 

Data for British Airways stopped in 2011, when it merged with Iberia to form IAG. 

Finnair had a consistent level of emissions over the seven year period but some, like Scandinavian Airlines, actually seems to have reduced their carbon footprint over time.

Finnair had a consistent level of emissions over the seven year period but some, like Scandinavian Airlines, actually seems to have reduced their carbon footprint over time.

Similarly, emissions data for American Airlines only started in 2013 when it merged with US Airways. 

Both of these mergers will have significantly increased the measured carbon footprint of the carriers as the fleet size is increased.

Whether it's down to mergers or increase in the size of the fleet, the study has shown that over a seven year period, almost all of the airlines have seen an increase in the volume of emissions.

However, some, like Scandinavian Airlines, appears to have been able to reduce their emissions over time. 

Dr Dahlmann said: 'The data demonstrates that for most airlines emissions are either growing or stagnant, none are showing a significant reduction in CO2 emissions.

'This is despite many airlines introducing modern and more efficient planes to their fleet.'

The professor also warned that due to the increasing number of flights, which is set to double by 2030, cutting emissions will be 'a real problem'.

AIRLINE EMISSIONS FROM LOW TO HIGH IN 2014
Rank (cleanest at the top)  Airline 
Finnair
TAP Portugal 
Virgin Australia 
4 Scandinavian Airlines 
easyJet 
Etihad 
Ryanair 
Air Canada 
9 Qantas 
10 Korean Air
11 Cathay Pacific 
12 Southwest
13 IAG (Iberia and British Airways)
14 Emirates
15 Air France KLM 
16 Lufthansa Group
17 United Airlines 
18  Delta Airlines 
19  American Airlines 
 Source: Warwick Business School

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