UK aviation reaffirms its commitment to a sustainable future

With climate change in the headlines and the UK Government committing to a ‘Net Zero’ carbon target for the UK by 2050, today UK aviation has come together to reaffirm its commitment to a sustainable future.

Sustainable Aviation – the coalition of UK airlines, airports, manufacturers and air navigation service providers – has set out how UK aviation can meet both its climate commitments and growing passenger demand.

Important progress has been made. While passenger numbers grew by more than 25% between 2010-16, emissions only increased by just over 4%. However, aviation is a challenging sector to decarbonise.

Sustainable Aviation believes that immediate untapped opportunities are the introduction of sustainable aviation fuels – which could reduce emissions in 2050 by nearly 25% and make the UK a world-leader in the technology – and critical airspace modernisation, which is currently underway.

But crucially, carbon reduction is a global issue requiring a global response, which is why Sustainable Aviation is urging Ministers to continue engaging through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to agree a meaningful world-wide long-term emissions reduction target consistent with the requirements of the Paris Agreement.

This will build upon the global carbon offsetting scheme CORSIA which from 2021 will allow aviation to compensate for the emissions it cannot yet eliminate by paying for high-quality, independently verified emissions savings in other areas.

Speaking today at the aviation industry’s annual Aviation Reception, Neil Robinson, Chair of Sustainable Aviation will say:

“Aviation is a UK success story and fully accepts its role in helping the UK meet its carbon targets. Aviation wants to grow but it wants to do so sustainably.

“We want to work with Government to see what more we can and should do to enable aviation to go further and faster in reducing our emissions, including through modernising UK airspace, investing in the creation of low-carbon technologies and delivering Sustainable Aviation Fuels at scale.

“Fundamentally, aviation is a global industry and needs a global solution. While we can reconcile future growth with more stretching climate goals, this can only work if the UK continues to work with international partners, giving leadership to the international process.”

Baroness Vere, Aviation Minister, said:

“We continue to lead the world through the International Civil Aviation Organisation to develop global measures to tackle aviation emissions. The support of the UK aviation industry is vital to tackling climate change and ensuring the sector becomes one of the greenest in the world.

“With their investment we are modernising our airspace to make flying quicker, quieter and cleaner.”