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BOSTON: With less than three weeks to the UN COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, IATA member airlines have resolved to achieve net-zero CO2e emissions by 2050. This means they will have to abate a total of 21.2 Gigatons by then.

According to association director-general Willie Walsh, 65 percent of the target will be achieved using sustainable aviation fuels (SAF); 13 percent by new propulsion technology including hydrogen; 19 percent from carbon capture and offsetting; and 3.0 percent from efficiency improvements.

With government support, IATA expects SAF production to reach 7.9 billion liters (2.0 percent of industry requirement) by 2025; 23 billion liters (5.2 percent) by 2030; 91 billion liters (17 percent) by 2035; 229 billion liters (39 percent) by 2040; and 346 billion liters (54 percent) by 2045.

Walsh says the “huge challenge” will require the collective effort of the entire value chain; supportive government action including a single air traffic environment in Europe; and all sector stakeholders addressing the environmental impact of their policies, products and activities 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.

“Achieving sustainable global connectivity cannot be accomplished on the backs of airlines alone,” Walsh declared. “All parts of the aviation industry must work together within a supportive government policy framework to deliver the massive changes that are needed, including an energy transition.

“That is no different than what we are seeing in other industries. Road transport sustainability efforts, for example, are not being advanced by drivers building electric vehicles. Governments are providing policies and financial incentives for infrastructure providers, manufacturers and car owners to be able to collectively make the changes needed for a sustainable future. The same should apply to aviation,” he added.
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