Despite the current crisis facing the global aviation industry, its commitment to pursuing sustainability remains strong, particularly as the sector starts to recover.
Speaking at the Global Sustainable Aviation Forum, industry leaders reiterated that long-term climate action should be a priority alongside economic recovery in the coming years.
Michael Gill, Executive Director of the cross-industry Air Transport Action Group, said, “Air transport is in the midst of the deepest shock in its history. We expect a reduction of up to 4.8 million jobs in the sector by the end of the year and a massive hit to our ability to connect the world. However, as we plan for the recovery of air connectivity, we also must prioritise our environmental progress.
“Our sector has a long-term climate change goal to cut CO2 emissions in half by 2050. With the right help from governments, the energy sector and technologists, we expect that global aviation will be able to hit net zero emissions a decade or so later. Some parts of the world will be able to meet this point earlier and a number of individual companies have already set goals along these lines.
“To achieve this will require a transition in our energy source from fossil fuel to sustainable aviation fuel, the acceleration of research and development of electric, hybrid and potentially hydrogen aircraft. It will also require a commitment to collaboration going even beyond our current levels. We have the next decade to set the scene for sustainable global connectivity for the next 30-40 years.”
Eric Fanning, Chair of the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations, said, “Manufacturers invest billions of dollars a year to make the next generation of airplanes even more fuel efficient, but disruption from COVID19 will make it difficult to maintain this level of investment in research and development. Moving forward, government and industry leaders must find new ways to collaborate on funding and developing innovative technologies that will address climate change.”
Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO of the International Air Transport Association, added, “COVID19 has devastated the aviation industry. But we are working hard to re-connect the world safely and sustainably. We’re committed to pushing ourselves, our partners, and governments to achieve our carbon targets in a green recovery. But this is not the time for more environmental taxes that punish people for reconnecting with family or who contribute to economic recovery with business travel. For aviation, the keys to combatting climate change remain investments in carbon offsetting, sustainable fuels, and radical green technologies.”