Carbon emissions per passenger have more than halved since 1990 thanks to improvements in fuel efficiency, according to an IATA report.
Annual fuel efficiency has improved by 2.3% since 2009, a decrease that is 0.8% ahead of target. According to the study, over the past 10 years, airlines have spent more than USD 1 billion in acquiring new aircraft and have signed forward purchase agreements for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) estimated to be worth USD 6 billion. Commenting on the report, IATA CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, said the organisation has “even bigger ambitions” for the years to come. “From 2020, we will cap net emissions and by 2050 we will cut emissions to half 2005 levels,” he said. “Accomplishing these targets means continued investment in new technology, sustainable fuels, and operational improvements.” In addition, IATA reiterated the importance of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) scheme to achieve carbon-neutral growth on international flights from 2020. The scheme requires airlines to report their carbon emissions on an annual basis as of 1 January 2019. IATA’s study also predicted that CORSIA will help reduce emissions by around 2.5 billion t in due course and generate more than USD 40 billion in climate finance between 2021 and 2035. However, the report warned that the global response to its implementation is being “compromised by governments introducing a patchwork of carbon taxes”. IATA warned that “deliberately suppressing air travel through punitive passenger taxes is inefficient and largely ineffective at reducing carbon”, and therefore urged global governments to support the CORSIA scheme instead of increasing taxes.