Instituting a carbon offsetting programme can be challenging for airlines, particularly for small- and mid-sized operators. The global airline association, IATA, has developed a simple standard programme incorporating the best practice in use worldwide.

Importantly, the IATA Carbon Offset Program tries to ensure that the passengers’ voluntary purchase of offsets for their flight is processed as part of the normal booking engine, not a ‘click-away’ to another website. This increases uptake and allows passengers to book and offset flights as one transaction.

The programme has been independently audited and approved by the world's highest standard for airline carbon offsetting – the Quality Assurance Standard. QAS-approved offsets are checked against a 40 point checklist which includes emissions calculations, carbon reduction project selection and information provision. IATA is one of only four organisations worldwide to meet this standard. 

Sri Lankan Airlines will be using the offsets purchased by its passengers on a local project to develop Hapugastenne and Hulu Ganga small hydropower projects which generate electricity for local communities. By replacing conventional fuel oil or diesel powered thermal stations, these two projects will save CO2, improve air quality and the livelihoods of neighbouring communities, and reinforce electricity supply into the local and national grid.

Kenya Airways passengers are able to invest in the Kasigau Corridor project with Wildlife Works. This project aims to preserve a corridor for wildlife in the Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary. It combines active wildlife protection, jobs creation, agricultural economic development and clean energy for local populations. The project, part of the REDD concept, will preserve 502,000 hectares of forest, support 100,000 livelihoods and cut emissions from deforestation.