Despite the current crisis facing global aviation, the industry continues to pursue sustainability, especially when the sector begins to recover. Speaking at the Global Sustainable Aviation Forum, industry leaders reiterated that long-term climate action should be a priority along with economic recovery in the years to come.
The executive director of the intersectoral Air Transport Action Group, Michael Gill, said: “Air transport is experiencing the deepest shock in its history. We expect a reduction of up to 4.8 million jobs in the sector by the end of the year and a major impact on our ability to connect the world. However, as we plan to recover aerial connectivity, we must also prioritize our environmental progress. Our industry has a long-term climate change goal of halving CO2 emissions by 2050. With the right help from governments, the energy sector, and technologists, we expect global aviation to achieve net emissions zero in a decade or more later. Some parts of the world will be able to reach that point sooner, and several individual companies have already set goals in that direction. To achieve this, we will need a transition from our fossil fuel energy source to sustainable aviation fuel, accelerating research and development for electric, hybrid, and potentially hydrogen-powered aircraft. It will also require a commitment to collaboration that goes beyond our current levels. We have the next decade to set the stage for sustainable global connectivity for the next 30-40 years ”.
Speaking about the need to focus on sustainability as part of the long-term recovery of the COVID-19 industry, the director-general of the International Airport Council, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, said: “The recovery of the aviation industry will be a key factor for the global economic recovery. To ensure that aviation can continue to provide economic and social benefits, it is crucial to pursue a sustainable recovery and lay the thriving industry’s foundation. Airports are central to the interconnected and interdependent aviation ecosystem. Airports and their partners in the aviation industry need the support of appropriate regulation and government policies to facilitate a green recovery and drive real change ”.
The director-general of the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization, Simon Hocquard, for his part, said: “Meeting our ambitious sustainability goals remains extremely important and will only happen if everyone in the aviation system does their part. From implementing new operating procedures to adopting the latest technologies, the ATM industry has an important role in improving aviation efficiency in the short term, before new technologies for zero-carbon or electric aircraft come into operation”.
Alexandre de Juniac, general director and CEO of Iata, said that the “COVID-19 pandemic devastated the aviation industry. But we are working hard to reconnect the world with safety and sustainability. We are committed to putting pressure on ourselves, our partners, and governments to achieve our carbon targets in a green recovery. But it is not the time for more environmental taxes that punish people for reconnecting with their families or contributing to the economic recovery with business trips. For aviation, the key to fighting climate change remains investments in carbon offset, sustainable fuels, and radical green technologies”.
Finally, the chairman of the International Coordinating Council for Aerospace Industry Associations, Eric Fanning, said: “Manufacturers invest billions of dollars a year to make the next generation of planes, even more, fuel-efficient, but the disruption of COVID -19 will make it difficult to maintain that level of investment in research and development. Moving forward, government and industry leaders must find new ways to collaborate in financing and developing innovative technologies that address climate change. “