Helicopters like aircraft are made of metal and composites and their interiors with plastic, leather and fabric. But when a customer asks for the interior of a helicopter to be fully vegan, it turned out to be quite a challenge for the Airbus Corporate Helicopters (ACH) design team. Dr Urs Brunner, a German construction entrepreneur and his wife, Daniela Brunner, ethical fashion pioneer, had placed an order for a vegan helicopter and the ACH team rose to the challenge and delivered the copter to its customer as per the specifications. The ACH145 comes with an interior configuration in a grey theme, while the leather elements — essential to its luxury feel — has been replaced with an ultra-leather upholstery. The items that had to be specially designed and fabricated in the replacement material include the six-passenger seats, central storage cabinet, rear partition and cockpit control cuffs. Analysts have termed the Airbus initiative as the airline industry’s response to COP26 (26th Conference of the Parties) Climate Summit, which was held in Glasgow early this month. While many critics panned the Summit as a flop show, a lot of work has already gone into setting a target for carriers by the industry body, IATA. According to the resolution during the IATA AGM in October, all airlines will target net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050, which puts the industry ahead of the majority of governments across the world.

On November 10, a total of 20 countries launched the International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition (IACAC) at COP26 and committed to working together with each other and through the International Civil Aviation Organisation to reduce aviation CO2 emissions at a rate consistent with efforts to limit the global average temperate increase to 1.5 degrees celsius.

The countries signing up for the pact included the US, Ireland, the UK and Japan among others. According to the International Energy Agency, aviation accounted for 2.8 per cent of global CO2 emissions in 2019. (Source: Airbus; FlightGlobal; IHS Markit).