While “flight shame” may be a more widespread term in some parts of the world rather than others, there is no denying that a pivot towards a more sS is in the interest of the planet. Let’s take a look at which airlines are prioritizing a greener agenda.
IATA wants a 50% reduction in CO2 by 2050
Worldwide in 2019, flights produced 915 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, despite jet aircraft today being more than 80% more fuel-efficient than the first jets from the 1960s. IATA has committed to carbon-neutral airline growth starting next year, and a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.
Many airlines have launched carbon-offset campaigns, such as Finnair’s Push for Change and KLM’s CO2ZERO. However, there are discussions as to how effective these schemes are. easyJet announced in November of last year it would become the world’s first airline operating net-zero carbon flights. British Airways parent company IAG has also pledged to go net-zero on carbon emissions by 2050.
State-side, Delta Air Lines has just committed $1 billion to become the first carbon-neutral airline globally. The carrier was the number one airline on a list of America’s Most Sustainable Companies 2020 by finance publication Barron’s.
Aviation biofuel is key
The International Energy Agency (IEA) says that sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), such as aviation biofuel, is key to reducing carbon emissions. According to an article from Reuters, aviation biofuel could cut the carbon foot-print of airlines by up to 80%. Unfortunately, it still costs four times as much as regular jet fuel. Many carriers have flown one-off flights partially-powered by bio-fuel, but others are beginning to introduce it more regularly.
In January 2018, Qantas flew a Dreamliner from Australia to the US with 24,000 kg of blended biofuel, saving 18,000 kg in carbon emissions. Later the same year Virgin Atlantic flew a commercial transatlantic biofuel flight with a Boeing 747 from Orlando to London Gatwick.
Regular biofuel flights
In 2019, Qantas compatriot Virgin Australia announced it has fuelled more than 700 flights using a biofuel known as Gevo.
Scandinavian Airlines, SAS, is also regularly using sustainable fuel sources and has set a goal to have all of its domestic flights be powered solely by biofuel by 2030. This would account for 17% of the carrier’s fuel consumption.