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Local air quality issues are of significant concern for local communities, especially those living near airports. 

In areas surrounding airports, emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM) are usually considered the most important contributors to local air quality concerns. 

More on Our Impact

According to the International Air Transport Association Link opens in a new window operated by external parties and may not conform to the same accessibility policies as Cathay Pacific (IATA), thanks to technological progress, aircraft emissions around airports today are generally low.  Since the 1960s, levels of carbon monoxide have come down by 50% and unburned hydrocarbons and smoke by around 90%. Research is targeting a further 80% reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions (NOx) by 2020. The aviation industry is also making substantial investments in cleaner ground support equipment and vehicles to improve local air quality.

In Hong Kong, local levels of air emissions from aviation in Hong Kong have remained relatively stable over recent years at 6% of nitrogen oxides (NOx), 3% of carbon monoxide (CO) and 2% of other air pollutants, according to the latest air pollutant emission inventory published in 2007.

Overall, aviation has a significantly lower impact on local air quality than other source categories, such as road transportation for example).


Hong Kong Air Pollutant Emission Inventory (2007)


Source: Hong Kong Air Pollutant Emission Inventory (2007),
http://www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/environmentinhk/air/data/emission_inve.html Link opens in a new window operated by external parties and may not conform to the same accessibility policies as Cathay Pacific


In order to comply with the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), we have developed a series of air quality initiatives aimed to reduce the emissions generated by our activities both on the ground and in the air.

Our Approach in The Air

Flight operations affect local air quality, especially during take-off and landing. Our climate change initiatives such as investments into new technologies, air traffic management and infrastructure management all help mitigate local air emissions in Hong Kong.

  • Developing more efficient operating procedures
  • Investing in new technologies

Our Approach on The Ground

The majority of our air emissions are generated by our ground activities. We have set-up a number of initiatives to mitigate such emissions at Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon, and across our subsidiaries.

  • Improving the energy efficiency of our ground vehicle fleet
  • Enhancing the energy efficiency of our buildings
  • Better management of equipment stock
  • Shuttle bus services for staff and limited number of car parking space to discourage driving

Our Progress So Far

To learn more about our initiatives and progress in addressing air quality issues, please read our annual Sustainable Development Reports.

For Further Reading…