Notable Developments in Europe's Airlines

Europe's airlines keep expanding, and the changes are pointing out some interesting trends. Two recent announcements are highlighting two notable developments in the industry:

Last week, Finnish flag-carrier Finnair, which had just been named Best Northern European Airline at the World Airlines Awards, began offering direct service between Chongqing, China, and Helsinki, Finland. This is in addition to its existing 26 flights pew weeks to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Asia is, of course, one of the fastest-growing markets for Europe, and Finnair is only the latest airline to expand its service to Asian destinations.

In an environmental trend, meanwhile, Germany's national airline Lufthansa has started to use lighter plastic in its transports in order to reduce weight--and, by proxy, the fuel needed to lift it. This isn't just good news in general for the environment, but as the airline also announced that it is seeing a significant increase in passenger numbers, it's a significant step.

This is a notable development, because at the same time, the ATA is asking the European Court of Justice to declare an European Union Emissions Trading Scheme illegal. United Continental and American Airlines are part of the challenge. The ATA questioned the EU's right to regulate U.S. carriers. 

So while U.S.-based airlines are fighting environmental regulations, Lufthansa is taking steps to reduce fuel usage. What are your thoughts on these issues? Sound off on Facebook or Twitter (icons above).