It strikes me that the airlines might be on to a sticky wicket with their new attempts to prove their ‘green’ credentials. The latest tactic is to use the boast of ‘our fleet is greener than their fleet’ and urge travellers to fly with them because their planes offer marginally superior fuel efficiency. Just look at Flybe’s attempt to reappropriate the EU’s energy efficiency chart found on most white goods and cars. The Telegraph also has easyJet’s chief executive Andy Harrison pushing a similar line today in an interview on its business pages

There are 700 aircraft built before 1990 and they are 20pc less efficient than today’s aircraft,” he says, naming “semi-bankrupt national airlines” such as Alitalia and flag-carriers such as British Airways and Iberia as major culprits.

Sure, every little helps – as could be argued with the launch over the weekend of Boeing’s Dreamliner – but these ‘per passenger kilometre’ efficiency savings are completely blown out of the water (or should that be air?)  by the growth predictions for the industry. It’s a bit like trying to argue that it’s better to empty a bath with a thimble instead of just pulling the plug – the ‘plug’ being fewer passengers and planes in the skies.

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