The Global Aviation Industry, Carbon Emissions and Other Sustainability Issues in Focus

G&A's SustainabilityHighlights (10.12.2017)
Oct 13, 2017 12:00 PM ET

The Global Aviation Industry, Carbon Emissions and Other Sustainability Issues …

Wondering about carbon emissions "contributed" by the global airline industry?  One of the industry's leading publishers, Air Transport Action Group, cites the following:

  • Worldwide, flights produced 781 million tonnes of CO2 in 2015.  Humans overall produced 36 billion tonnes.  Aviation is responsible for 12% of CO2 emissions from all transport sources.  (Road transport accounts for 74%.)
  • Today, jet aircraft in service are well over 80% more fuel efficient per seat KM than the 1950s early jet aircraft.
  • But -- 80% of the aviation CO2 emissions are emitted by flights of over 1500 KMs - for which there is not alternative means of transport.

The components of the aviation industry include aircraft manufacturers, airlines, government agencies, navigation organizations, trade associations, ground transport partners, pilots, unions, communication providers...and airports.

As we all know, the 25,000 aircraft operated by the airline industry have to take off from and land at airports around the world (some 3800+ airfields!) 

Editors from the International Airport Review focused recently on the Global Sustainable Aviation Summit in Geneva, Switzerland. More than 300 delegates attended; the theme was addressing "common aims" in developing sustainability across the sector.  The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were a central theme for companies, which can adopt one or more and build strategies around them. 

The interests of the airport industry are represented by ICAO -- the International Civil Aviation Organization.  The leader talked about coordinating investment and development and focusing on the new "Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme" ("CORSIA").  Closer coordination, said ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwo Benard Aliu in his keynote, "will bring tremendous benefits to cities and societies where ever aircraft fly."

This is the goal of a coalition formed by the industry to adopt and build on the SDGs -- Air Transport Action Group (ATAG).  Member organizations include The International Air Transport Association (IATA, representing airlines), Airports Council International, the manufacturing company Bombardier.  The coalition released a report -- "Flying in Formation" -- to help the air transport industry understand the UN SDGs in "an aviation context".

This is just the introduction of G&A's Sustainability Highlights newsletter this week. Click here to view the full issue.