Trade group Airlines for America (A4A) representing America’s top 10 passenger and cargo airlines wants to bring the net carbon emissions to zero by 2050.
In 1960, there were only 100 million passengers that traveled by air. At that time, air travel was a luxurious mode of transportation that not everyone can afford. However, things changed. By 2017, the number ballooned to 4 billion passengers worldwide. In addition to this, the aviation industry represents 12% of carbon emissions from the transport sector.
A4A is set to work with the government and other stakeholders to transition towards strategies that will bring down the industry’s carbon emission. Among these strategies include increasing the production of sustainable aviation fuel, revamping air traffic control, and investing in electrification to name a few.
A4A’s chief executive Nicholas Calio said that “We are proud of our record on climate change”. He also added that the organization needs to take “bolder, more significant steps to address this challenge”.
Concrete Plans to Reduce Carbon Emissions
A4A is looking to increase the production of sustainable aviation fuel to meet the 2 billion gallon demand of US carriers by 2030. This means an increase in the production of sustainable aviation fuel by 84% every year for the next decade.
Sustainable aviation fuel comes from renewable sources like forest floor debris, old clothes, and even cooking oil. By using these materials, carbon dioxide cycle emissions can drop as much as 80% compared with conventional jet fuel. Today, more than 40 carriers are using this type of fuel.
In November, IATA urged governments to promote the use of sustainable aviation fuel. It was called a game-changer in reducing emissions. However, it isn’t exactly simple. There are barriers to implementing the use of SAF. The limited supply and the high cost of production are some of the main reasons it isn’t popular. In addition to this, sustainable aviation fuel is three to five times more expensive than fossil-fuel.
This can be a problem. For instance, the aviation industry is still looking to recover from its losses in 2020. It means that they are looking for ways to drop their airfare to get people to travel. Next, not all airlines are willing to invest at this time.
On the bright side, some airlines retired older aircraft and updated their fleet with more fuel-efficient models. A4A’s Calio sees this as the perfect opportunity to push further towards achieving net-zero carbon emission in the coming decades.
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