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Aviation Sustainability and the Environment, CAPA 14-Oct-2021

Analysis

IATA outlines base case for future SAF/alternative fuels to meet net zero ambitions

JetBlue CEO: 'We've got to make sure that we scale up sustainable aviation fuel'

Virgin Atlantic Airways renews mission to achieve net zero by 2050

Vancouver International Airport unveils 'Roadmap to Net Zero Carbon 2030' decarbonisation plan

ACI World to submit safety and facilitation working papers to ICAO High-Level Conference

This CAPA report features a summary of recent aviation sustainability and environment news, selected from the 300+ news alerts published daily by CAPA. For more information, please contact us.

IATA outlines base case for future SAF/alternative fuels to meet net zero ambitions

IATA outlined (04-Oct-2021) the following base for the development and supply to market for sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and alternative aviation power sources out to 2050, to meet the industry's net zero emissions goal:

  • 2025: With appropriate government policy support, SAF production is expected to reach 7.9 billion litres (2% of total fuel requirements);
  • 2030: SAF production is 23 billion litres (5.2% of total fuel requirement). ANSPs have fully implemented the ICAO Aviation System Block Upgrades and regional programmes such as the Single European Sky;
  • 2035: SAF production is 91 billion litres (17% of total fuel requirement). Electric and/or hydrogen aircraft for the regional market (50-100 seats, 30 to 90 minute flights) become available;
  • 2040: SAF production is 229 billion litres (39% of total fuel requirement). Hydrogen aircraft for the short-haul market (100-150 seats, 45 to 120 minute flights) become available;
  • 2045: SAF production is 346 billion litres (54% of total fuel requirement);
  • 2050: SAF production hits 449 billion litres (65% of total fuel requirement). [more - original PR]

Original report: Net-Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) 77th Annual General Meeting approved a resolution for the global air transport industry to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. This commitment will align with the Paris Agreement goal for global warming not to exceed 1.5°C.

“The world’s airlines have taken a momentous decision to ensure that flying is sustainable. The post-COVID-19 re-connect will be on a clear path towards net zero. That will ensure the freedom of future generations to sustainably explore, learn, trade, build markets, appreciate cultures and connect with people the world over. With the collective efforts of the entire value chain and supportive government policies, aviation will achieve net zero emissions by 2050,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

Achieving net zero emissions will be a huge challenge. The aviation industry must progressively reduce its emissions while accommodating the growing demand of a world that is eager to fly. To be able to serve the needs of the ten billion people expected to fly in 2050, at least 1.8 gigatons of carbon must be abated in that year. Moreover, the net zero commitment implies that a cumulative total of 21.2 gigatons of carbon will be abated between now and 2050.

A key immediate enabler is the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). This will stabilize international emissions at 2019 levels in the short-to-medium term. Support for this was reaffirmed in today’s resolution.

Industry-wide Collective Efforts:

The path from stabilizing emissions to emissions reductions will require a collective effort. All industry stakeholders, including governments must each individually take responsibility to address the environmental impact of their policies, products, and activities. And they must work together to deliver sustainable connectivity and ultimately break aviation’s dependance on fossil fuels.

“Achieving sustainable global connectivity cannot be accomplished on the backs of airlines alone. All parts of the aviation industry must work together within a supportive government policy framework to deliver the massive changes that are needed, including an energy transition. That is no different than what we are seeing in other industries. Road transport sustainability efforts, for example, are not being advanced by drivers building electric vehicles. Governments are providing policies and financial incentives for infrastructure providers, manufacturers and car owners to be able to collectively make the changes needed for a sustainable future. The same should apply to aviation,” said Walsh.

The Plan

The strategy is to abate as much CO2 as possible from in-sector solutions such as sustainable aviation fuels, new aircraft technology, more efficient operations and infrastructure, and the development of new zero-emissions energy sources such as electric and hydrogen power. Any emissions that cannot be eliminated at source will be eliminated through out-of-sector options such as carbon capture and storage and credible offsetting schemes.

“We have a plan. The scale of the industry in 2050 will require the mitigation of 1.8 gigatons of carbon. A potential scenario is that 65% of this will be abated through sustainable aviation fuels. We would expect new propulsion technology, such as hydrogen, to take care of another 13%. And efficiency improvements will account for a further 3%. The remainder could be dealt with through carbon capture and storage (11%) and offsets (8%). The actual split, and the trajectory to get there, will depend on what solutions are the most cost-effective at any particular time. Whatever the ultimate path to net zero will be, it is absolutely true that the only way to get there will be with the value chain and governments playing their role,” said Walsh.

The resolution demands that all industry stakeholders commit to addressing the environmental impact of their policies, products, and activities with concrete actions and clear timelines, including:

  • Fuel-producing companies bringing large scale, cost-competitive sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) to the market.
  • Governments and air navigation service providers (ANSPs) eliminating inefficiencies in air traffic management and airspace infrastructure.
  • Aircraft and engine manufacturers producing radically more efficient airframe and propulsion technologies; and
  • Airport operators providing the needed infrastructure to supply SAF, at cost, and in a cost-effective manner.

The Role of Governments

The energy transition needed to achieve net zero must be supported by a holistic government policy framework focused on realizing cost-effective solutions. This is particularly true in the area of SAF. Technology exists, but production incentives are needed to increase supply and lower costs.

The resolution calls on governments through ICAO to agree a long-term goal equivalent to the industry’s net zero by 2050 commitment. In line with the longstanding approach to managing aviation’s climate change impact, the resolution also called for governments to support CORSIA, coordinate policy measures and avoid a patchwork of regional, national, or local measures.

“Governments must be active partners in achieving net zero by 2050. As with all other successful energy transitions, government policies have set the course and blazed a trail towards success. The costs and investment risks are too high otherwise. The focus must be on reducing carbon. Limiting flying with retrograde and punitive taxes would stifle investment and could limit flying to the wealthy. And we have never seen an environment tax actually fund carbon-reducing activities. Incentives are the proven way forward. They solve the problem, create jobs and grow prosperity,” said Walsh.

Milestones

The combination of measures needed to achieve net zero emissions for aviation by 2050 will evolve over the course of the commitment based on the most cost-efficient technology available at any particular point in time. A base case scenario as follows is the current focus:

  • 2025: With appropriate government policy support, SAF production is expected to reach 7.9 billion liters (2% of total fuel requirement)
  • 2030: SAF production is 23 billion liters (5.2% of total fuel requirement). ANSPs have fully implemented the ICAO Aviation System Block Upgrades and regional programs such as the Single European Sky
  • 2035: SAF production is 91 billion liters (17% of total fuel requirement). Electric and/or hydrogen aircraft for the regional market (50-100 seats, 30-90 min flights) become available
  • 2040: SAF production is 229 billion liters (39% of total fuel requirement). Hydrogen aircraft for the short-haul market (100-150 seats, 45-120 min flights) become available.
  • 2045: SAF production is 346 billion liters (54% of total fuel requirement).
  • 2050: SAF production hits 449 billion liters (65% of total fuel requirement).

“SAF will fuel the majority of aviation’s global emissions mitigation in 2050. The recently announced US Grand challenge to increase the supply of SAF to 11 billion liters (3 billion gallons) by 2030 is a great example of the kinds of policies that will drive aviation sustainability. Similarly, the announcements from several big energy suppliers that they intend to produce billions of extra liters of SAF in the near term are welcome. But we cannot tolerate announcements with no follow-up. To be meaningful, fuel suppliers must be accountable for delivering SAF at cost competitive prices. 

“The way forward for all means of carbon mitigation will be scrutinized. We will match commitments to achievements in reporting that makes it clear how we are progressing. Engaging with travelers, environmental NGOs and governments based on transparent reporting will ensure that our flightpath to net zero is fully understood,” said Walsh.

Ambition

“There will be those who say that we face impossible numbers and technical challenges. Aviation has a history of realizing what was thought to be impossible—and doing so quickly. From the first commercial flight to the first commercial jet was about 35 years. And twenty years on we had the first jumbo jet. Sustainability is the challenge of our generation. And today we are launching a transition that is challenging. But in 30 years it is also within reach of human ingenuity, provided governments and the whole industry work together and hold each other accountable for delivery,” said Walsh.

JetBlue CEO: 'We've got to make sure that we scale up sustainable aviation fuel'

JetBlue Airways CEO Robin Hayes, speaking at CAPA Live from Puerto Rico October 2021, stated (13-Oct-2021) "Airlines make up 2% to 3% of global carbon emissions, but we're also one of the hardest sectors to decarbonise, just by the very nature of the physics".

Mr Hayes said: "We have to get ahead of that. Otherwise, governments will start taxing us. People will start changing their behaviour".

He added: "We've got to make sure that we scale up sustainable aviation fuel. We've got to make sure that there is a path to generating synthetic fuels in an efficient way from a sort of a power assumption".

Virgin Atlantic Airways renews mission to achieve net zero by 2050

Virgin Atlantic Airways announced (11-Oct-2021) ambitious carbon targets as the airline renews its mission to achieve net zero by 2050. The airline's new targets set a clear pathway to net zero by 2050, to achieve the following:

  • By 2026: 15% gross reduction in CO2/RTK achieved through continued fleet transformation and operational efficiency;
  • By 2030: 15% net reduction in total CO2 emissions, including 10% of fuel sourced from sustainable aviation fuel;
  • By 2040: 40% net reduction in total CO2 emissions.

Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss stated: "For more than a decade we've been leading the way in the decarbonisation of the aviation industry, and now as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic we have a unique opportunity to ensure we return to the skies more sustainably". [more - original PR]

Original report: Our mission to net zero by 2050

Our mission to net zero by 2050

  • Ambitious targets set for 2026, 2030 and 2040 to achieve significant reductions in CO2 emissions
  • Targets include increased fleet efficiency and committing to the use of 10% Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) in 2030
  • Builds on 18% reduction in CO2/RTK already achieved by 2019 through fleet modernisation and operational efficiencies

Virgin Atlantic has today announced ambitious carbon targets as the airline renews its mission to achieve net zero by 2050. Reinforcing its commitment to embed sustainability through innovation, transparency and accountability to do more for the protection of the planet.

Carbon targets

The airline’s new targets set a clear pathway to net zero by 2050, to achieve[1]:

  • By 2026: 15% gross reduction in CO2/RTK achieved through continued fleet transformation and operational efficiency
  • By 2030: 15% net reduction in total CO2 emissions, including 10% of fuel sourced from sustainable aviation fuel
  • By 2040: 40% net reduction in total CO2 emissions

Youngest, cleanest fleet in the sky

Virgin Atlantic has a 15-year strong history as a sustainability leader. Today, the airline operates one of the youngest and cleanest twin-engine fleets in the skies, with an average aircraft age of just under seven years, following a multi-billion-dollar investment in fleet transformation over the last decade, which has so far delivered a 20% reduction in fleet carbon emissions[2].

 

Innovation leadership

Beyond fleet transformation, Virgin Atlantic is committed to working with new technology innovators. To seed, support and adopt the breakthrough technologies capable of delivering change. As a long-standing advocate for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), Virgin Atlantic has been partnering with LanzaTech since 2011, flying the world’s first commercial flight operated on sustainable fuels in 2018 and supporting efforts to build the first UK SAF plant by 2025. It also continues to support new technology innovation, most recently working with partners, Storegga Geotechnologies and Carbon Engineering, to accelerate the use of direct air capture of CO2.

 

Coalition of the willing

As a founding member of Sustainable Aviation and the UK’s Jet Zero Council and through the Clean Skies for Tomorrow coalition, Virgin Atlantic continues to play an active role in bringing industry and Government together to accelerate SAF development at scale. Building a strong domestic SAF industry would put Global Britain at the forefront of commercialising new technologies in support of net zero ambitions, capable of reducing the lifecycle carbon impact of aviation fuel by more than 75% compared to traditional jet fuel[1]. Beyond SAF, and recognising the importance of electric flight in future efforts to reduce carbon emissions, Virgin Atlantic has recently partnered with Vertical Aerospace, to launch the first eVTOL short haul network in the UK

 

Business as a force for good

The sustainability commitments announced today are part of the airline’s ambition to use business as a force for good and to empower everyone to take on the world. Recognising the social and economic benefits of long haul travel but knowing we must find ways to do it better. For the benefit of our people, customers, communities and planet. Within the airline’s reward structure, measures are included that demonstrate commitment to sustainability, such as a carbon measure of CO2/ RTK (LTIP) and reduction in weight of raw single use plastics.

 

Shai Weiss, CEO, Virgin Atlantic, commented: “We know that as an airline we have a pivotal role to play in protecting the planet, while connecting people across the globe and strengthening crucial trade connections.

“For more than a decade we’ve been leading the way in the decarbonisation of the aviation industry, and now as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic we have a unique opportunity to ensure we return to the skies more sustainably. The carbon targets outlined today will help us achieve this as we work tirelessly on our mission to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

“Aviation is a truly global industry, and we can’t tackle this on our own. That’s why we’re continuing to work closely with the UK’s Jet Zero Council and Sustainable Aviation, as well as aligning with innovation and technology partners across the industry and beyond. There is a long road ahead but we’re committed to pioneering change and being transparent on our progress, on our way to a low carbon future.”

Vancouver International Airport unveils 'Roadmap to Net Zero Carbon 2030' decarbonisation plan

Vancouver International Airport unveiled (07-Oct-2021) its 'Roadmap to Net Zero Carbon 2030' decarbonisation plan, a commitment to accelerate its original net zero carbon emissions target by 20 years through the following operational actions:

  • Green fleets;
  • Energy conservation and electrification;
  • Replacing fossil fuels with renewable alternatives;
  • Strategically purchasing carbon removals to close the gap.

Under the plan, the airport also intends to engage with community partners to help reduce emissions outside of its direct operations, in accordance with provincial and federal government targets.

The airport is also hopeful it will realise new capabilities and operational efficiencies through its Digital Twin - a replica of the airport's physical assets, processes and services and part of the airport's broader Innovation Hub. [more - original PR]

Original report: YVR’s New Roadmap to Net Zero Carbon will Guide Airport to Achieve Climate Commitments by 2030

From renewable energy sources that power its terminals to operational efficiencies made possible through clean technology and its innovative Digital Twin, YVR has a new plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2030, becoming one of the world’s greenest airports.

Today, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) unveiled its Roadmap to Net Zero Carbon 2030. The roadmap balances innovative approaches with practical actions that will see YVR’s operations become net zero by 2030. Earlier this year, YVR was the first airport in Canada to commit to net zero emissions by 2030, accelerating its original climate commitment by 20 years from 2050.

“At YVR, we have a long history of innovation and sustainability and are proud to be at the forefront of creating a greener, more resilient future for aviation as well as our community and the economy that supports it,” said Marion Town, Director of Climate and Environment, Vancouver Airport Authority. “For many years, we have developed and followed an Environmental Management Plan to guide our efforts to reduce YVR’s impact on the environment. Our Roadmap to Net Zero Carbon is an extension of this overarching plan and will ensure we achieve our ambitious goals.”

YVR’s new Roadmap to Net Zero Carbon outlines four decarbonization pathways that are necessary for the airport to reduce emissions from its direct operations, referred to as Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Pathways include green fleets, energy conservation and electrification, replacing fossil fuels with renewable alternatives, and strategically purchasing carbon removals to close the gap.

Actions under the decarbonization pathways also leave room for new capabilities and operational efficiencies that will be realized through emerging clean technology and YVR’s Digital Twin—a replica of the airport’s physical assets, processes and services and part of the airports’ s broader Innovation Hub.

“Our roadmap moves us forward in decarbonizing our operations using what we know is possible to implement today along with built in flexibility to evolve in the future,” said Town. “For example, we’re confident that that we’ll discover new opportunities to reduce emissions as we bring our Digital Twin online and explore clean technology advancements.”

With the largest building in British Columbia and Canada’s second busiest airport, YVR is uniquely positioned to play an outsized and immediate role in reducing emissions beyond its direct operations (i.e. Scope 3 emissions). To do so YVR is also working with our airport community partners to help them reduce their emissions, which supports provincial and federal government climate action commitments and are an important factor of the International Air Transport Association’s ambitious emissions reduction goals for the aviation industry

“Our Roadmap to Net Zero recognizes the importance of collaboration and collective action to drive visible and sustainable change across aviation,” said Town. “We’re proud to take this bold leap toward becoming one of the world’s greenest airports and are excited about the potential to work with our many partners, including airlines, as they advance their climate goals as well.”

YVR is sharing its Roadmap to Net Zero with business and industry as they look to find ways to decarbonize. Through collaboration, YVR and its partners will advance ideas and action that will result in lasting solutions for reducing emissions and creating a greener future.

Please visit YVR.ca to learn more about YVR’s environmental commitments and its Roadmap to Net Zero Carbon.

ACI World to submit safety and facilitation working papers to ICAO High-Level Conference

ACI World reported (07-Oct-2021) it submitted two working papers to the upcoming ICAO High-Level Conference, covering technical streams focusing on safety and facilitation.

  • The safety paper, titled 'Ground Handling as a Key Component of the Long-Term Resilience and Sustainability of the Aviation System', was developed with the Airport Services Association and covers:
    • The importance of ground handling service providers (GHSPs) within economic and social sustainability frameworks;
    • The significance of ensuring safety levels through safety management processes applied by GHSPs and governments;
    • Adopting a balanced regulatory framework regarding safety risks associated with ground handling activities;
  • The facilitation paper, titled 'Innovation for Recovery, Facilitation, and Sustainability', focuses on:
    • Proposals for ICAO to enhance current processes and working methods to keep up with innovation and promote sustainability;
    • Addressing the sustainability of measures implemented and ensuring they are risk-based. [more - original PR]

Original report: ACI World Calls For A Pragmatic And Risk-based Approach To Managing The Sustainable Recovery Of Aviation

ACI World Director General to speak at ICAO High-level Conference on COVID-19

Airports Council International (ACI) World highlights the importance of a pragmatic and risk-based approach to managing the sustainable recovery of the aviation industry as it prepares for a return of air traffic demand.

ACI will be advocating this message on behalf of its members at the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) High-level Conference on COVID-19, taking place virtually from 12–22 October and under the theme: “One Vision for Aviation Recovery, Resilience and Sustainability beyond the Global Pandemic.”

The event, which will gather ministerial delegations and aviation stakeholders from around the world, will seek to reach a global consensus on a multilateral approach—supported by the political will and commitments of governments—to enable the industry’s safe recovery, as well as strengthen its resilience and sustainability.
 

ACI World’s Director General, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, will provide remarks during the Ministerial Plenary Round Tables and will speak on:

The need for governments to apply science/risk-based and harmonized measures in a consistent way, rather than those developed for political reasons.

The importance of adhering to and applying the World Health Organization and ICAO advice and guidance material, in particular from the ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART), of which ACI is an active member.

The need for alignment and mutual recognition of vaccines across borders as well as the remaining challenges associated with varying testing regimes in different governments.

The need to ensure a risk-based approach to COVID-19 testing as a requirement to authorize travel and the variations in test specificity applied by different governments, as well as the burdensome cost of these to the traveling public.

The importance of using interoperable digital formats as proof of vaccine, testing, and recovery, and the requirement for mutual recognition by governments.

The consequence of failure would be a significant challenge to the airport and aviation industry as passenger traffic demand begins to return. These include increased passenger processing times and longer aircraft ground times, generating operational delays and capacity constraints at airports, all of which would negatively affect travel resumption and the customer experience. The lack of staff already seen in certain areas of the sector, as well as within certain government agencies, is likely to compound this already complex situation.

“It is imperative that ministers at the ICAO High-level Conference on COVID-19 support a pragmatic and risk-based approach to managing the sustained recovery of the industry and be ready to remove barriers as the industry returns to higher levels of traffic–all while keeping passengers and industry workers safe,” ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said. “We must learn from the mistakes of the past, such as the response following 9/11, and recognize that we need a proportionate response to the threat and not to continue to impose measures once the need has passed. As the global health situation evolves, immunity increases, and the science gets better, we will all have to adjust our thinking about COVID-19; governments should consider reducing their prescriptive health measures as we learn to live with the virus.”

The conference will also have two technical streams that will focus on Safety and Facilitation respectively. ACI World has submitted two working papers in these streams to support its members’ interests worldwide:

The Safety Stream Working Paper focuses on “Ground Handling as a Key Component of the Long-Term Resilience and Sustainability of the Aviation System,” and has been co-developed with the Airport Services Association. It presents and emphasizes the importance of Ground Handling Service Providers (GHSPs) as part of the longer-term economic and social sustainability of the aviation ecosystem, as well as the importance of ensuring that overall levels of safety are sustained through adequate safety management processes applied by GHSPs and government. It proposes the adoption of a balanced regulatory framework addressing the safety risks related to ground handling activities.

The Facilitation Stream Working Paper focuses on “Innovation for Recovery, Facilitation, and Sustainability.” It presents proposals for ICAO to evolve its processes and working methods in order to keep pace with innovation and promote sustainable practices across the industry. The working paper also addresses the importance of ensuring that measures implemented should be sustainable and risk-based.

Many of the topics advocated by ACI at the High-Level Conference will be further explored at the ACI-LAC/World Annual General Assembly, Conference and Exhibition to be held in Cancun, Mexico, from 21–24 November 2021 under the theme “Runway to Recovery: Reconnecting Aviation for a Sustainable Future.”

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