The aviation industry has made significant progress in fuel and CO2 efficiency, halving the amount of fuel used per flight compared to 1990. In other words, your flight today would generate just 50% the CO2 compared to the same flight back in 1990. This has been achieved through technological advancement, improvements in operations and infrastructure.
Overall emissions from aviation have risen though, as the volume of air traffic (both passenger and cargo) has increased. Especially in emerging economies, as they begin to reap the benefits of air travel.
Business and tourism are important for global economic development, and every year the interest in traveling the world increases.
The industry's climate action framework is designed to help find the balance between the two goals – economic growth through connectivity, and reduction of climate impact.
A sustainable aviation can be achieved by some pillars, such as:
Each new generation of aircraft is roughly 15% to 20% more fuel efficient, and manufacturers invest around $15 billion per year in research to improve efficiency. In the future, we may even be able to fly on electric or hybrid aircraft on short-haul flights.
Sustainable aviation fuels
Aviation fuels have great potential for securing the sustainable growth of air travel as they could reduce CO2 emissions by around 80% compared with fossil fuels, without the need to radically change the fuel supply systems or engines of aircraft.
We're making the current fleet lighter and more efficient and using new air traffic control techniques to save emissions. For example, landing using a continuous descent into an airport saves at least 150kg of CO2 per flight. Adding winglets to an aircraft can reduce fuel usage by 4%.
Shortening flight times by a minute saves at least 100kg of CO2 per flight. Changes in air traffic management systems in the United States, Asia and Europe will cut emissions significantly.