Cessna's Pelton Challenges Aircraft Emission Regulation

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Customer demand, not government regulation, forced a 70-percent improvement in the fuel efficiency of jet aircraft over the past 40 years and further improvement should be modeled on industry and public-sector cooperation, according to Cessna CEO Jack Pelton. Pelton delivered his remarks at an annual international environmental congress meeting near Paris. Failure to work together in partnership, said Pelton, could stifle progress. Pelton said the greatest industry improvements have been made as "the result of customer demand and market forces, not regulation." He noted that during the same period jet engines saw their market-driven 70-percent efficiency improvement, federally regulated auto industry standards correlated with improvements closer to 15 percent. Pelton also made his case for Cessna as a good environmental citizen, noting that the company's green contributions have gone beyond technological developments in aviation.

The company entered a partnership with Greensburg, Kan., after it was all but leveled by a 2007 tornado. That city is now rebuilding as a "green" city with the help of Cessna engineering, program management and operations support, according to Cessna. The aviation industry claims to account for 2 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions attributable to fossil fuel. Pelton suggests that relatively small footprint should correspond to relatively small attention from governmental regulation.