Aviation emissions must lose altitude by 2020

The aviation industry has outlined a new set of goals to reduce emissions in the future. The aviation industry aims to increase fuel efficiency across the fleet by 1.5% a year […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

The aviation industry has outlined a new set of goals to reduce emissions in the future.

The aviation industry aims to increase fuel efficiency across the fleet by 1.5% a year until 2020, to stabilise CO2 emissions at 2020 levels and cut CO2 emissions to half of 2005 levels by 2050.

These goals will be addressed through technological, operational and infrastructural advancements and through the development of a global market-based measure at the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Michael Gill, Director at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said: “This is already bearing fruit. In fact, the industry is currently tracking ahead of our goal, with an average fuel efficiency improvement of 2.9% per year. That’s a cumulative fuel efficiency improvement since 2009 of 13.6%.

“Reducing aviation’s net CO2 emissions by 50% by 2050 is certainly ambitious. We are concentrating action in two key areas: a combination of technological advancements and the development of sustainable alternative fuels.

For 2016, the IATA forecast airlines’ fuel bills would fall to $135 billion (£103.58), which represent 20.6% of their total operating costs.

Fuel is such a large cost that the industry focuses intense effort to improve fuel efficiency, through replacing fleet with new aircraft and improving operations on the ground and in the air.