14/05/2008 - 22:00

Resources sector drives rise in aircraft emissions

14/05/2008 - 22:00

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COMMERCIAL air travel within Western Australia is expected to contribute 804,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere this year, or enough to fill 9,906 six-metre sea containers, according to a new study.

Resources sector drives rise in aircraft emissions

COMMERCIAL air travel within Western Australia is expected to contribute 804,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere this year, or enough to fill 9,906 six-metre sea containers, according to a new study.

Compiled by Perth-based consultancy firm Capitalis, the research shows that commercial airlines will fly nearly 32 million kilometres within WA this year.

The study included commercial services within the state by Qantas, VirginBlue, Skywest.

It did not include charter air services provided by companies such as Network Aviation and Skippers Aviation.

About 2,000 regional flights depart from Perth Airport every month, with nearly half of those flying directly to mining and oil and gas sites, and a further 20 per cent flying to traditional mining centres, according to the Chamber of Minerals and Energy.

Capitalis managing director Kevin Hewitt said carbon emissions from air travel associated with the resources industry should be taken into account when assessing the industry's environmental impact.

"Travel is a constant of doing business in WA.

Companies aren't stopping at the straight-up dollars and cents cost, they're looking at the environmental and social costs too as part of their triple bottom-line responsibilities," he said.

"As a consulting firm, we're helping our clients reduce their costs by quantifying and evaluating business challenges such as this, seeking ways to overcome them." The growth in passenger numbers through the airport has largely been attributed to the increase in flights servicing the resources industry.

Last financial year, Perth Airport recorded the highest increase in passenger numbers of all airports in the country, with passenger numbers up 13 per cent on the previous financial year and up 67 per cent during the past five years.

CME director David Parker said the industry took greenhouse responsibility very seriously, with aviation playing a critical role within the resources sector.

"Given the remoteness of the state, aviation plays an integral part in the way we live and the way we work," he said.

"Aviation is going to increasingly be involved in the greenhouse gas debate and looked at within the holistic transport equation." Mr Parker said the resources sector had played a pivotal role in reinvigorating the state's aviation industry by bringing daily jet aircraft services to a number of regional centres, including Kununurra, Broome, Derby, Karratha and Port Hedland.

"On the back of quite a significant resources sector uplift, there's been a real renaissance in the state's aviation sector," he said.

Mr Parker said he would need to see the methodology behind the research before assessing how many passengers could be directly attributed to the mining sector.

According to the federal government's national emissions database, a total of 66 million tonnes of carbon dioxide was emitted by WA in 2005.

International aviation added just less than 300,000 of carbon dioxide to the state's atmosphere.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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