“ The One Earth”

Ms. Chetanjitkaur A Rehal, Sr. Officer, Flight Operations

To support global awareness and action for the protection of our environment, we take a quick look at how the following initiative helps us to minimise aviation’s environmental impact.

I. Technology

The Technologies provides a variety of information on initiatives related to technologies and innovation aimed in reducing the environmental footprint of aviation, including details of past and ongoing initiatives.

1. Good aerodynamics

  • Curved Wing Tips
  • Sharkskin Coating

2. Efficient Propulsion system

  • Engine core wash

3.  Weight Reduction

  • Magazines
  • Galley
  • Potable Water
  • Baggage
  • Carpet

4. Use Wheel Tug

5. Noise Reduction
6. Circular economy

  • Reducing Waste
  • Flexible Catering
  • Recycle Work wear

II. Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)

Jet fuel packs a lot of energy for its weight and it is this energy density that has really enabled commercial flight. Today, there aren’t any other viable options for transporting groups of people quickly over very long distances, so we’re dependent on this type of fuel in aviation. A return flight between London and San Francisco has a carbon footprint per economy ticket of nearly 1 tonne of CO2. With the aviation industry expected to double over 8 billion passengers by 2050, it is essential that we act to reduce aviation’s carbon emission and SAF is one way.

SAF gives an impressive reduction of up to 80% in carbon emissions over the lifecycle of the fuel compared to traditional jet fuel it replaces, depending on the sustainable feedstock used, production method and the supply chain to the airport. 

III. Operations

Efficiencies gained through operational improvements can make a big difference. At every step of a plane’s operations there are opportunities to reduce fuel burn and consequently, emissions. Airlines are saving fuel through more efficient procedures and weight reduction measures.

1. On the ground

A large number of airports are now equipping their gates with fixed electrical ground power and pre-conditioned air, allowing pilots to switch off the APU, saving fuel and noise while on the ground. 

2. Departure

As aircraft taxi from the gate to the runway, there are techniques in operation, such as single-engine taxiing, or in development, such as self-driving devices, which enable aircraft to reach the runway without using full engine power.

3. Cruise

Despite their size, aircraft still burn less fuel when they have less weight on board, so airlines are finding ways to reduce the weight of a vast array of items carried – everything from food service trolleys, to seats and carpets, to loading just the right amount of water for each flight, rather than filling the tanks each time. This results in significant savings.

Airlines and air traffic controllers are also working together to take advantage of weather conditions at high altitudes. Pilots and flight planners have been studying wind patterns prior to departure and routing the aircraft along strong wind streams. Despite sometimes flying a much greater distance, use of wind streams has reduced both flight time and emissions. Flexible routing is also now taking place, particularly on long routes in uncrowded airspace, but new surveillance technology much like GPS systems will enable it to be used on more crowded routes.

IV. Aviation Net Zero

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) 77th Annual General Meeting approved a resolution for the global air transport industry to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. This commitment will align with the Paris Agreement goal for global warming not to exceed 1.5°C.

The strategy is to abate as much CO2 as possible from in-sector solutions such as sustainable aviation fuels, new aircraft technology, more efficient operations and infrastructure, and the development of new zero-emissions energy sources such as electric and hydrogen power. Any emissions that cannot be eliminated at source will be eliminated through out-of-sector options such as carbon capture and storage and credible offsetting schemes.
“We have a plan. The scale of the industry in 2050 will require the mitigation of 1.8 gigatons of carbon. A potential scenario is that 65% of this will be abated through sustainable aviation fuels. We would expect new propulsion technology, such as hydrogen, to take care of another 13%. And efficiency improvements will account for a further 3%. The remainder could be dealt with through carbon capture and storage (11%) and offsets (8%).

The resolution demands that all industry stakeholders commit to addressing the environmental impact of their policies, products, and activities with concrete actions and clear timelines, including:

  • Fuel-producing companies bringing large scale, cost-competitive sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) to the market.
  • Governments and air navigation service providers (ANSPs) eliminating inefficiencies in air traffic management and airspace infrastructure.
  • Aircraft and engine manufacturers producing radically more efficient airframe and propulsion technologies; and
  • Airport operators providing the needed infrastructure to supply SAF, at cost, and in a cost-effective manner.

V. Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA)

The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) is a carbon offset and carbon reduction scheme to lower CO2 emissions for international flights, to curb the aviation impact on climate change.
Developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and adopted in October 2016. Its goal is to have a carbon neutral growth from 2020. CORSIA uses Market-based environmental policy instruments to offset CO2 emissions: aircraft operators have to purchase carbon credits from the carbon market. Starting in 2021, the scheme is voluntary for all countries until 2027.