Aviation sustainability a new urgency
The pledge would develop aircraft and engine design technology in what they called “a relentless pursuit of improvements in fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions”. They would also support the commercialisation of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) while developing radically new aircraft and propulsion technology, as well as accelerating technologies that would enable the third generation of aviation.
According to Steve Creedy of Airline Ratings, it has been more than a decade since the climate became a heated topic of discussion at IATA and the industry set its goal to reduce CO2 emissions to half by 2050.
As the seven CTOs noted, however, it isn’t just airlines that need to address sustainability: air traffic management and new ways of routing aircraft to minimize fuel also have a an important role to play, as well as governments.
Aircraft and engine makers have done their bit for the last 40 years with technology that has reduced C02 emissions by a yearly average of more than one percent per passenger mile. While this has been largely a result of airlines wanting to reduce costs, it has also had the add-on effect of offsetting the impact of the industry’s spectacular growth.
The CTO’s agreed this was the result “of significant R&D investments in materials, aerodynamic efficiency, digital design and manufacturing methods, turbomachinery developments and aircraft systems optimization”.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines in June announced it would also step forward and called upon everyone to join forces in creating a more sustainable future for aviation. Under the name Fly Responsibly, the airline commits itself to achieving maximum progress. With an open letter, published in a wide range of international newspapers, it invited all involved – including other airlines and air travellers – to take action.