Aviation sustainability developments from around the world

Globe zoomed in to Eurasia

IATA approves resolution to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050

The 77th Annual General Meeting of IATA, the International Air Transport Association, approved a resolution for the global air transport industry to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. This commitment will align with the Paris Agreement goal for global warming not to exceed 1.5°C. The strategy is to abate as much CO2 as possible via in-sector solutions such as sustainable aviation fuels, new aircraft technology, more efficient operations and infrastructure, and the development of new zero-emissions energy sources such as electric and hydrogen power. Any emissions that cannot be eliminated at source will be eliminated through out-of-sector options such as carbon capture and storage and offsetting schemes.

Lufthansa invests in the first industrially produced carbon-neutral, electricity based kerosene made in Germany

The world's first industrial plant capable of producing CO2-neutral electricitybased kerosene was officially opened at the beginning of October 2021 in Werlte/Emsland. It is operated by the climate protection organization atmosfair and produces synthetic fuel for aircraft from water, CO2 and renewable electricity (power-to-liquid = PtL). The Lufthansa Group is a partner in the pioneering project and also one of its first customers planning to purchase at least 25,000 litres of PtL fuel annually over the next five years and make it available to customers.


Heathrow pushes for SAF mandate

London Heathrow Airport urged the UK government to show leadership by putting policies in place to scale up the production of sustainable aviation fuels in the UK. Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “We should aim for 2019 to have been the peak year for fossil fuel use in global aviation. The UK Government can show real leadership in decarbonising aviation at COP26, by setting a progressively increasing mandate and a plan to use contracts for difference to accelerate the transition to Sustainable Aviation Fuel in the UK, which will protect the benefits of flying for future generations.”

London Heathrow Airport

Airbus, Air Liquide and VINCI Airports announce partnership to promote the use of hydrogen and accelerate the decarbonisation of the aviation sector

Contrail cloudiness - which accounts for a major share of aviation’s climate impact - remains a field of research to resolve the complex links between jet fuel composition, contrail microphysics at work, and the resulting climate impact. Yet a joint DLR-NASA experiment probing the exhaust and contrail of an Airbus A320 has improved our understanding of the phenomenon and opened perspectives for mitigating its effects. The testing campaign provided experimental evidence that burning low aromatic sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) can result in a 50 to 70% reduction in soot and ice number concentrations. The study concluded that “meaningful reductions in aviation’s climate impact could therefore be obtained from the widespread adoption of low aromatic fuels, and from regulations to lower the maximum aromatic fuel content”.

Business Aviation Pledges: Net-Zero Carbon Emissions By 2050

The International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), on behalf of the operators and manufacturers of business aviation worldwide, have agreed to the ambitious goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The global business aviation community pledges to further contribute to climate action efforts through a combination of measures in close collaboration with governments and stakeholders across the air transport industry. The actions identified in the Business Aviation Commitment on Climate Change in 2009 - modern technology, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF); operational improvements and modernized infrastructure; and market-based measures (MBMs)- must be even more aggressive to reach the new net-zero goal. The industry will need a substantial shift in aircraft innovation; a transition to sustainable energy sources, including a significant increase of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production and use; a modernized and efficient operational infrastructure; and acknowledgment that offsets will most likely be necessary to meet the goal by 2050.

Subscribe to our Sustainability briefing

Read more of our articles and subscribe to get notified of future issues!