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BYLINE: BY ROBERT W. MOORMAN
of the business
Green. What was once an adjective is now a noun. Aircraft manufacturers and their customers realized years ago that the word had the dual meaning of helping the environment and their businesses through better aircraft and engine design as well as operating policies. Manufacturing more efficient equipment meant lower fuel and operating costs, which also meant spewing less harmful emissions into the atmosphere.
Boeing and Airbus figured out early on that combining the economic and environmental goals was the quickest way to have your cake and eat it, too. The use of new aircraft materials, such as composites, to reduce operating costs as well as new quiet engine technology to reduce fuel burn and harmful emissions would go a long way eventually to serving the Earth and industry.
A dramatic example of just how green the aircraft business is becoming occurred last July when Airbus Chairman Louis Gallois outlined the company's environmentally related objectives. They included a 50 percent reduction in fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions in new aircraft by 2020.
The aviation industry's contribution to human-made CO2 remains relatively small at 2 percent, according to the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Critics say that's misleading, however, because so many emissions come high in the atmosphere and thus may be more damaging.
And the unavoidable political reality is that there is a growing collective drive by governments to get passenger and freight …