Aviation industry reducing its environmental footprint

In 2008, the aviation industry agreed a global, sector-wide climate action framework - a world first. The framework is based on a set of three global goals: short, medium and long-term.

Short-term goal

1.5% average annual fuel efficiency improvement from 2009 to 2020

Progress

Currently tracking well above goal with 2.3% improvement

How is industry achieving this?

Introduction of new technology: replacing older aircraft with newer, more efficient ones.

Significant investment required: world's airlines will purchase 12,000 new aircraft at $1.3 trillion

Medium-term goal

Stabilise net aviation CO2 emissions at 2020 levels through carbon-neutral growth.

Progress

Adoption of global offsetting scheme CORSIA

How is industry achieving this?

Any emissions that aviation industry is unable to reduce through technological, operational or infrastructural measures, or by using sustainable aviation fuels, will need to be offset by market-based measures.

Long-term goal

Halving net CO2 emissions by 2050 compared to what they were in 2005.

Progress

Significant research efforts underway

How is industry achieving this?

Two main areas of action: development of sustainable aviation fuels; research into future design concepts by aircraft and engine manufacturers.

Already efficient...but room for improvement

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 and improvements in operations and infrastructure.

Overall emissions from aviation have risen though, as the volume of air traffic (both passenger and cargo) has increased. Most growth has occurred in emerging economies, as they begin to reap the benefits of air travel.

Trade and tourism are important drivers of global economic development, and as more people become affluent, their appetite to travel 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.

Pillars of the industry's climate action strategy

The industry's three global climate goals are underpinned by several pillars of climate action: