UK aviation can meet Climate Committee CO2 recommendation despite new runway and doubling of passengers

Analysis by Sustainable Aviation has shown that aviation in the UK can accommodate a more than doubling of passenger numbers by 2050 without significantly increasing CO2 emissions, and has the potential to halve emissions in the future.

The analysis takes into account additional runway capacity in the South East, as well as increased demand across the rest of the country. The research shows that by 2050 aviation emissions are expected to be around 2005 levels, broadly in line with levels recommended by the Committee on Climate Change.

This is the most up to date analysis available on UK aviation emissions and is built on the most recent Government aviation forecasts. Drawing on information and knowledge from across the industry, the analysis takes account of new cutting edge technological development, as well as plans for the future, to show that growing demand for UK aviation can be met in the context of the UK’s climate change objectives.

Sustainable Aviation Chair Ian Jopson said:

“This work takes into consideration the latest advances in aircraft design, fuel technology and operational work, and shows that the UK industry can meet the public’s growing demand to fly while meeting our environmental obligations.”

“Our analysis shows that by 2050 we expect CO2 emissions for UK aviation to be broadly in line with 2005, this takes into consideration additional runway capacity and an expansion of aviation across the whole of the UK.”

“Our report also demonstrates the potential to halve net CO2 emissions by 2050 through investing in market based measures such as the recently-agreed Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation from ICAO.”
Delivering on these opportunities requires sustained commitment from both the UK aviation industry and UK Government. The recent announcements from the Government regarding sustainable aviation fuels has our full support, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Government, to realise the innovative, low carbon, opportunities set out in our Road-Map.
Responding to the recent letter from the Committee on Climate Change (25 November) he said:
“We understand the Committee’s concerns, but our research which is based on the most recent demand forecasts demonstrates that UK aviation is able to accommodate significant growth to 2050 and still be broadly in line with the Committee’s recommendation to Government.”


Notes to editors

  • A link to the 2016 version of the Road Map can be found here:
  • For press enquiries please contact Chris Russell at Connect Communications on 020 7592 9592. or email info@sustainableaviation.local
  • Sustainable Aviation is a coalition of UK airlines, airports, aerospace manufacturers and the air traffic service provider, which works to deliver cleaner, quieter, smarter flying.
  • It acts as a long term strategy which sets out the collective approach of UK aviation to tackling the challenge of ensuring a sustainable future for the UK aviation industry.
  • Launched in 2005, it is a world first, bringing together major UK airlines, airports, manufacturers and air navigation service providers towards a collective sustainability goal.
  • A full list of Sustainable Aviation members is available here:
  • Sustainable Aviation fuels – The UK Government has made two recent announcements in support of developing sustainable aviation fuels in the UK. In the Autumn statement the Chancellor pledged £20 million for the development of alternative fuels for aviation and heavy goods vehicles. More recently the Government launched a consultation on proposed changes to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation including to develop new sustainable fuel policies for aviation. For more details go to:
  • CORSIA – In October 2016, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) achieved an historic agreement to implement a market-based measure that will support the global aviation industry’s ambition for carbon neutral growth. Known as the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), the agreement was reached by 191 states attending the ICAO Assembly. CORSIA is the first global scheme covering an entire industrial sector. The scheme will offer exciting opportunities for aviation to fund large-scale sustainable carbon reduction projects around the world. For more details on how it works see:

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