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U.S. airlines, both cargo and passenger combined, improved fuel efficiency by 110 percent from 1978 to 2007, resulting in 2.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide savings - roughly equivalent to taking 18.7 million cars off the road each of those years, according to the Air Transport Association's recently released 2008 Economic Report.
"The key to connecting and protecting our planet is investment in new technology," ATA president and CEO James C. May writes in the report. While much of the Economic Report is a look back, May notes that airlines' ability to invest is critical to their forward-looking commitment to improve fuel efficiency by another 30 percent through 2025. Also critical "is the investment we are seeking in a modern, satellite-based, digitally enabled, vastly more energy-efficient air traffic management system."
It is important to note that ATA members expanded on their record of environmental excellence while moving more passengers and freight in 2007. Moreover, FAA statistics reveal that the number of people in the United States affected by aircraft noise has diminished by 94 percent since 1975, though passenger boardings have more than tripled.
Source: Air Transport Association, http://www.airlines.org
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