Aviation industry reducing its environmental footprint

Aviation is committed to collaborating to address its environmental impact.

In 2008, it became the first industry to adopt a global, sector-wide climate action goal.

In October 2021, the global aviation industry took its climate commitment one step further by declaring that it will achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, supported by accelerated efficiency measures, energy transition and innovation across the aviation sector and in partnership with Governments around the world.

Governments also confirmed their support for net zero carbon emissions by 2050 for aviation by adopting a similar goal during the 41st Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization in October 2022

Net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is significant as it supports the Paris Agreement goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, compared to pre-industrial levels. Scientists agree that this would greatly reduce the severity of climate change damage.

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% of the CO2 compared to the same flight back in 1990. This has been achieved through technological advancement and improvements in operations and infrastructure.

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.

Key elements for decarbonisation

Flying net zero will require commitment from across the aviation sector and action in the following areas:

IATA CO2 Connect calculator

IATA has developed an emissions calculator (see below) that enables passengers to easily calculate the CO2 footprint of their flights:

  1. Search for and select the departure and arrival airports
  2. Choose the aircraft type (if unknown, the most common one for the route will be automatically selected)
  3. Press calculate.

Information about the methodology, data used and how the CO2 emissions are calculated is available from IATA.