Aviation sustainability: the way forward

sustainable aviation

Sustainable aviation looks for ways to lessen the negative effects that flying has on both society and the environment. Through innovative new techniques, it seeks to lessen aviation’s impact on climate change. This area of expertise focuses on energy-efficient flight operations, cutting-edge propulsion systems, environmentally friendly aircraft technology, and highly effective aircraft designs.

Airbus ZEROe Project | Representative | Airbus

A paradigm shift in the aviation sector was signaled by the International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition’s first meeting at COP26 in Glasgow and the announcement of net zero global emissions targets by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Airport Council International (ACI).

The aviation sector today is in an ironic situation. On the one hand, it connects individuals, locations, economies, and cultures. Additionally, it is essential for transporting supplies around the world, such as vaccines during the most recent global pandemic, and delivering humanitarian help to areas that need it most.

On the other side, aviation contributes significantly to climate change, making up between 2 and 3% of global carbon emissions. If significant adjustments aren’t done, this percentage might rise to over 20% by 2050. The entire climate impact of the aviation industry can be up to three times greater than that of carbon emissions alone due to other, non-CO2 related consequences of air travel, such as contrail cirrus created by soot particles.

The World Aviation Festival, which was held this year in Amsterdam, focused heavily on the duty of industry leaders and stakeholders to address these issues. Three new realities were highlighted:

1. The urgent message

In favor of pursuing actual aircraft emissions reductions, EasyJet has chosen to discontinue its carbon offsetting program. The airline focuses on technologies such sustainable aviation fuel, hydrogen power, and carbon capture while testing its processes within the Science-Based Targets project in order to reduce CO2 emissions by 35% per passenger kilometer by 2035 and reach net zero by 2050.

With KLM introducing a portion of sustainable aviation fuel to all flights departing from Amsterdam and Lufthansa forming new agreements to use and promote sustainable fuels, both airlines have jumped on board. In addition, Lufthansa has added AeroSHARK film, a biomimetic technology that lowers drag, conserves fuel, and illustrates the innovation principle in action, to its fleet of Boeing 777F freighters.

Lufthansa Technik

Singapore Airlines has implemented new SITA technology and switched to sustainable aviation fuel in an effort to cut emissions by 15,000 tons yearly.

With the BA Better World pledge, which includes investment and advocacy around the considerate use of resources, the development of sustainable aviation fuel, and waste reduction measures, British Airways is on what it considers its “most important trip yet.”

2. Cooperation and transparency are key

Airlines have access to a growing array of technologies for reducing emissions, from sustainable fuels to flight operations software.

It is impossible to exaggerate the value of collaboration given the immense complexity of the aviation value chains. For instance, the adoption of hydrogen-powered aircraft must coexist with major infrastructural modifications that will have an impact on a large portion of the aviation supply chain. Likewise, increasing the use of sustainable aviation fuel calls for international cooperation to create and control standards for raw materials, manufacturing techniques, and calculations of emissions reduction.

3. Sustainable Aviation Fuel- next name of the game

Because it may produce immediate emissions reductions, SAF is an essential component of the climate action puzzle. Long-term adoption of alternative solutions, like electrification and hydrogen power, will also be important, but full-scale implementation is still years, if not decades, away.

Representative | ADS Group

An important year for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), 2022 saw more SAF offtake agreements announced than in the previous two years put together, making it by far the most significant year to date. Over three dozen airlines have signed up for upwards of 80 SAF offtake agreements, totaling a commitment of approximately 3.5 trillion liters of SAF, according to ICAO.

Key producers of SAF

The obvious advantages of SAF are well known, but meeting the increasing demand for SAF will be the main problem. Neste, the top supplier of sustainable aviation fuel, is well cognizant of this. Neste began producing SAF in 2011 and can already produce 100.000 tons of it annually.

Representative | ecac-ceac

There is also a rush of new players entering the renewable fuel industry alongside well-established providers like Neste, and more and more airlines are committing to utilizing SAF.

As an example, the IAG airlines have actively promoted the use of SAF in their respective markets. The first transatlantic flight powered by 35% SAF was carried by British Airways last year.

Regulation and collaboration are crucial

The use of sustainable fuels by airlines is being expedited by the necessity for strict regulation and regulations.

To decarbonize the aviation sector, urgent adoption of technologies like SAF, ambitious cooperation across value chains, and meaningful action right now are all essential. Additionally, global agreement on the best ways to encourage and measure emissions reductions would be required.

2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference


The 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference is being in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, from November 6 through November 18, 2022. It is more widely known as Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, or COP27.


COVER: Marshall Skills Academy