Emirates Flights: Carbon Neutral Air Travel Now Possible with Carbon Offsets

By Jazmin Murphy | Updated on September 14, 2021

Want to make sure your Emirates flights carbon neutral… to make sure that you erase your carbon footprint?

It’s possible, but there are a few things you should know.

Keep reading…

Emirates flight plane flying over Dubai.

Can Emirates Flights’ Passengers Offset Their Carbon Output?

Although Emirates Flights expresses dedication to sustainability and environmentally-friendly travel with their environmental policy, the airline does not yet have direct methods for passengers to offset their carbon output.

So, how can passengers ensure they aren’t contributing to the environmental issues plaguing the planet?

First, Calculate flight carbon emissions using an ecological footprint calculator.

Emirates’ Commitment to Sustainability: What’s Covered?

Emirates is committed to making “multibillion-dollar investments” in cutting-edge “eco-efficient technology,” supporting their aircraft and ground equipment renovation.2

Interestingly, as part of the company’s sustainability statement, Emirates asserts that the aviation industry is responsible for merely 2% of human carbon dioxide emissions. While this is true, it’s important to remember that flying represents a significant portion of CO2 emissions in the transportation sector. It accounts for 12% of CO2 emissions versus 7% from road travel.1

Additionally, some flights are easier to offset than others. The Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) reports that 80% of CO2 emissions in aviation come from flights that are longer than 1,500 kilometers (about 932 miles).

To address that issue, Emirates supports a four-pillar strategy to reduce emissions developed by the airline industry body, the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The company implements this strategy by:2

  • Employing advanced technology throughout our group, including in aircraft and engines
  • Encouraging governments to make air navigation more fuel and emission efficient
  • Reducing the environmental impact of our ground operations
  • Supporting the development of a global sectoral approach to carbon dioxide emissions through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations agency for international civil aviation

Despite the Emirates Environmental Policy, which has been in effect since July 15, 2018, there is more to be done in reducing the environmental burden air travel imposes on Earth.2 The actions they have taken are beneficial for fuel efficiency and transparency, but they still do not offset the flight.

Fortunately, even if you fly with Emirates, there are ways to offset your CO2 emissions alongside the airline’s efforts to align with the aviation industry’s environmental progress. To accurately shrink the air travel portion of your carbon footprint, you’ll need to get familiar with Emirates routes.

See which of these routes matches your most frequent travel activity to get an idea of how much carbon dioxide you’re contributing to emitting with each trip.

How carbon offsets for air travel work to reduce emissions graphic.

The Most Common Flight Routes in 2021

Emirates has several international flight routes that exceed 932 miles. The airline carries passengers all over the world, from the United States to the Czech Republic. In total, Emirates provides service all over the world, including these regions:

  • Africa
  • Asia and the Pacific
  • Europe
  • The Americas
  • The Middle East

Yet, some routes are busier than others, meaning they contribute more to the aviation industry’s carbon dioxide emissions than others.

According to CNN Travel, the most widely traveled routes across all airlines are as follows:3

  • Dubai-London Heathrow: This route is 7,118.5 km, or 4,423 miles. According to BlueSkyModel calculations, a plane traveling this distance produces slightly more than 53 lbs of CO2 per mile.4 Considering these calculations, an Emirates flights passenger would need to offset 234,419 lbs, or approximately 117 tons of CO2 after their trip.
  • Florida (Orlando International Airport) to San Juan: This flight covers a distance of about 1,913 km, or 1,189 miles. So, you’d need to offset 63,017 lbs, or about 32 tons, of CO2 before or after landing.

Note: Emirates does not provide the option to travel directly to San Juan. Instead, you’d need to go to Ponce, Puerto Rico, at Mercedita Airport. This trip is just about the same distance, at about 1,905 km or 1,184 miles. Such a flight would emit 62,752 lbs of CO2 or 31 tons.

  • Dubai to Delhi: This trip covers a massive distance of 2,194 km, or 1,363 miles. After this flight, you’d need to make up for roughly 72,239 lbs of emitted CO2, or 36 tons.
  • Cairo-Jeddah: Even though this flight is relatively short compared to the others, it still covers a considerable distance that requires substantial offsetting. These destinations are about 1,641 km or 1,019 miles. So, you’d need to offset 54,007 lbs, or 27 tons, of CO2.
  • Cancun-Dallas Fort Worth: Traveling between these destinations takes quite a while, as they’re separated by 3,130 km, or 1,945 miles. This means you’d need to offset 103,085 lbs of CO2, or about 52 tons to make your flight carbon neutral.

It’s astounding how many harmful gases an aircraft can release into the atmosphere just by carrying passengers back and forth. Even domestic flights can impose a heavy burden on the environment. For example, some of the busiest US domestic flights were Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Miami, and Tampa.2

Despite being in the same country, these routes cover impressive distances. Even when traveling the shortest distance of these three (Atlanta to Tampa), you’d be covering about 734 km or 456 miles. In just a few hours, your flight would contribute 24,168 lbs, or 12 tons, of CO2 to the atmosphere.4

Although it is Emirates’ initiative to make its aircraft more efficient, this will take some time. The world needs urgent, immediate action that will yield climate-positive results in the near future. Individual action can fulfill this need.

Emirates plane on tarmac, with engine and wing view.

Keys To Offsetting Your Emirates Flights Miles

Not all offset programs are the same. Some offset projects simply plant rows of the same species of tree, which may end up actually having a negative impact on the environment, regardless of the CO2 they sequester. There are many legitimate forestry offset options that do much more than that. They can not only offset your flight’s carbon footprint, but provide real and immediate benefits by helping surrounding communities, building back ecosystems in biodiversity hotspots, and rehabilitating wildlife.

At first glance, it may seem overwhelming: the massive amount of GHGs that humans pump into the atmosphere just by trying to get from place to place. It’s easy to get discouraged by these enormous numbers. Yet, you can use these accredited forestry programs to clean up the earth’s atmosphere and still make it to your next vacation in Cancun.

The first, most crucial step in offsetting your flight’s environmental impact and becoming carbon neutral is calculating your individual contribution to the GHG emissions using various data points that characterize your habits that may or may not contribute to the ongoing problem of climate change.

Offsetting your Emirates flight is a straightforward process. By answering just a few questions, you can get a personalized breakdown of carbon dioxide emissions, and what can be done to mitigate your flight’s impact.

One of the best things about using tree planting offset programs (offered by carbon offsets organizations) to make your Emirates flights carbon neutral is knowing that you’ve supported all life throughout the globe and have done your part to reduce the greenhouse gases endangering the planet.


References

1Air Transport Action Group. (n.d.). Facts & figures. Retrieved June 30, 2021, from https://www.atag.org/facts-figures.html

2The Emirates Group. (2018). Our environmental policy. https://cdn.ek.aero/downloads/ek/pdfs/environment/environment_policy_2018.pdf

3O’Hare, M. (2021, February 10). There’s a new busiest international air route and it’s not where you’d expect. CNN. Retrieved June 30, 2021, from https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/world-busiest-air-routes-february-2021/index.html

4Blue Sky Model. (n.d.). 1 air mile. https://blueskymodel.org/air-mile