Aviation Powering Forward On Net Zero Flight But Calls On Government To Turbocharge Progress

Today at the Sustainable Skies World Summit at Farnborough International, Sustainable Aviation have published a progress report one year on from the industry’s landmark Net Zero Carbon Road-Map. The Road-Map was published in April 2023 demonstrating the pathway to net zero carbon UK aviation by 2050.

In a statement, Sustainable Aviation Chair, Matt Gorman said:

“We will only protect the benefits of aviation if we take the carbon out of flying. Our Road-Map last year showed that that this is possible, and our One Year On report shows real progress from within the UK aviation industry on all Road-Map pathways. Gross carbon emissions are on track with our Road-Map assumptions, and less than they were in 2019. By the end of 2023, passenger numbers were 21% higher than they were in 2005, yet carbon emissions have fallen by 9%. This is a huge improvement, due to the roll out of newer, more efficient aircraft and engines and to the initial stages of airspace modernisation. .

“The last 12 months has seen a world-first transatlantic commercial flight using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), and hydrogen-powered aircraft regularly undertaking test flights over the UK countryside. Whilst this is cause for optimism, scaling up the technologies that will get us to net zero carbon flight needs the right Government policies, introduced with urgency and purpose. There too, things are moving, but we must maintain momentum, particularly through the upcoming General Election.

“While Sustainable Aviation welcomed the UK government SAF mandate announcement and consultation on a revenue certainty mechanism (RCM) last month, we have repeated our call for the government to act quickly to complete its consultation on an RCM that will accelerate domestic SAF production, deliver thousands of jobs across the UK industrial heartlands, and make compliance with the new SAF mandate easier. A decision on the scheme design can then be made before the end of the year and legislation for a Government-backed mechanism delivered in the next King’s Speech.

“Government must also deliver the resource and commitment needed to deliver airspace modernisation quickly, alongside a more coordinated approach to drive faster progress commercialising zero-carbon emission and hydrogen technologies. Critically, all paths to decarbonise aviation will need significantly more low and zero-carbon electricity, as well as access to carbon removal technologies, which must be built into national plans.

“We know there is no silver bullet to decarbonising air travel; we need all of these technologies to be progressed today to protect the benefits of aviation into the future. Sustainable Aviation stands ready to work in partnership with the UK Government and maintain the UK’s position as a global leader in aviation decarbonisation.”

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