British low-cost airline easyJet releases new model

British low-cost airline easyJet unveiled a model of an "ecoJet" on Thursday, which would emit half the carbon dioxide of those now in use.

Chief Executive Andy Harrison said the technology to build the aircraft already existed and that his company was in talks with manufacturers to get it delivered by 2015.

"This is not 'Star Trek.' This is the future," Harrison said. "If it were to be made available today, we would order hundreds of them for fleet replacement."

Lower speeds, the use of weight-reducing materials and rotors fitted to the back of the plane would all act to improve fuel efficiency and reduce pollution - cutting carbon emissions by 50 percent and nitrogen by 75 percent, easyJet said. The new plane would also be quieter than previous models.

The aviation industry, which accounts for about 2 percent of the world's carbon emissions, has come under increasing pressure from environmental campaigners, and airline companies have been racing to burnish their green credentials.

Some, like British Airways, offer customers the chance to fund environmental projects to offset the emissions created by their trip, while others - like Virgin Atlantic - are investing in new forms of biofuel.

European low-cost leader Ryanair says its fleet of Boeing 737-800s have already cut carbon emissions and fuel consumption in half since 2000.