“This is truly a world-first series of flights and one with a very important message,” says UN Secretary General Benjamin, “It is symbolic of the whole industry working together in order to deliver on sustainable development goals and to ensure that the world can rely on aviation for many decades to come, but to continue to fly in a way that has a smaller impact on the environment.”

On June 18th, 2012 Air Canada will take part in a series of biofuel flights to Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. We will fly the second leg of the journey, demonstrating our commitment to reducing our environmental impact and the potential of sustainable biofuels for aviation.

Three major aircraft manufacturers and four transporting members of the ICAO council to Rio+20 will take part:

  • 18 June / YUL – YTZ / Porter Airlines / Bombardier aircraft
  • 18 June / YYZ – MEX / Air Canada / Airbus A319
  • 18 June / MEX – GRU / AeroMexico / Boeing 777
  • 19 June / CGH – SDU / GOL Airlines / Boeing 737-800

From the ground service in Toronto to the final landing in Mexico, every part of flight  AC991 will be optimized. The A319 Airbus will be prepped, washed and waxed. Conventional jet fuel will be blended with certified biofuel. The most efficient trajectory, flight levels and speeds are utilized. And so much more.

But this isn’t just about a single flight. It’s about a larger Air Canada initiative to reduce our carbon footprint. We have adopted industry goals to collectively improve our fuel efficiency by an average of 1.5% from 2009 until 2020. We will then cap our CO2 emissions from 2020 to achieve carbon-neutral growth. By 2050, we hope to have reduced our CO2 emissions by 50% (relative to 2005 levels).

That’s why this flight is so exciting. Rio+20 will mark a huge leap forward for the aviation community. And here at Air Canada, we will be able to take what we learn from this flight and apply these best practices to everything we do.

Take a look at our plans for the perfect flight and our future goals. They are ambitious. But together, we believe that we can create a brighter future—for you, aviation and the planet.