Six years ago, the aviation industry took an unprecedented step – it agreed a set of global climate goals, the first for any international transport sector, and a strategy to achieve them. The goals were ambitious but they also conveyed the message that the entire air transport community was engaged: airports, airlines, air traffic management and the makers of aircraft and engines all working together to address the urgent challenge of climate change.

ACS - Michael GillSince then, the world’s governments have been locked in climate negotiations which have developed into a mirror of our own pathway.

Pre-2020 ambition is evident from the aviation sector in the work that has taken place to implement the efficiency measures needed to meet our first goal. Much of that work is detailed in this report. Whilst the 101 case studies here provide only a snapshot of the many thousands of projects taking place across the industry, they do give a good flavour of the variety and scope of the industry’s efforts.

Some actions are big: such as bringing a new aircraft to service; and some are smaller, but significant in their own way. This is a reflection of the aviation industry as a whole. We serve thousands of communities and over three billion passengers a year, but each journey tells its own unique story. It is also a reflection of what will be needed to tackle the climate challenge on a broader level. All parts of the economy and all parts of society have a role to play, with both small actions and large shifts in thinking.

Those companies mentioned in this report are the tip of the iceberg of a massive energy efficiency movement in aviation.

Our mid-term objective of carbon-neutral growth from 2020 now aligns very well with the UNFCCC’s deadline for the start of a new climate agreement. In order to meet our goal, we will need governments to agree to the development of a global market-based measure at the 2016 International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly in one year’s time. It is a vital step towards a sustainable future for aviation and, once agreed, will be the first time there has ever been a global market-based measure of any sort.

In the long-term, we have said we will halve CO2 emissions from air transport by 2050, based on 2005 levels. It’s an ambitious goal and work is already underway to achieve it. Some good examples are provided in the alternative fuels section where companies are really stepping up to the challenge of developing our next-generation energy source. Starting from a very modest base today, these low-carbon fuels will provide a great deal of our needs in the future.

The examples and case studies in this publication provide not only evidence of climate action taking place across the sector, but also a set of suggestions to those industry partners looking for inspiration on how to improve the efficiency of their operations. We urge everyone in the industry to strive to be the best in this area, but let’s also share with each other the lessons learned and scale up our ambition where possible. We hope that this publication will help those efforts.