News Press Release

European aviation sector proposes EU Pact for Sustainable Aviation to realise EU’s 2030 and 2050 decarbonisation ambitions

  • Destination 2050 already shows a pathway for Europe’s aviation sector to decarbonise, in line with the EU’s 2050 climate objectives.
  • Pact would complement European Commission’s ‘Fit for 55’ policies to ensure aviation can meet its decarbonisation targets. 

Brussels, 14 July 2021 — In its ‘Fit for 55’ legislative package published today, the European Commission set out proposals aimed at reducing net EU greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55%1 by 2030. This represents a major stepping stone to reach the EU’s climate goal of net zero emissions by 2050 and is also aligned with the aviation sector’s own objective of achieving net zero CO2 emissions from all flights within and departing Europe by 2050.

To support the ‘Fit for 55’ initiative and ensure climate targets can be reached, Europe’s leading airlines, airports, air navigation service providers and manufacturers2 have proposed the development of an EU Pact for Sustainable Aviation — a joint roadmap for industry and policymakers to align their actions towards realising the 2030 and 2050 climate goals. The Pact – led by the European Commission – would set out a shared vision, common aspirational targets and high-level principles for joint aviation and policymaker action.The Destination 2050 initiative, launched earlier this year, shows how a combination of measures across four pillars can be used to achieve net zero CO2 emissions from aviation by 2050, namely:

  • Improvements in aircraft and engine technologies;
  • Ramp-up in production and uptake of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs);
  • Implementation of smart economic measures;
  • Improvements in air traffic management (ATM) and aircraft operations.

“European aviation supports the Commission’s climate ambitions and Destination 2050 is our sector’s contribution to their implementation – but the roadmap clearly shows that we cannot do this alone. Realising our ambition and achieving a net zero European aviation requires fully aligned and enabling policy, regulatory and financial frameworks – both at EU and national level. For this reason we call on the European Commission to support and take the lead in the development of an EU Pact for Sustainable Aviation to drive these proposals forward. We stand ready to engage with the European Commission to define such a Pact and hold regular exchanges to ensure its implementation”, said the five Destination 2050 associations.

The associations have also outlined their proposal to make Europe the hub for net zero CO2 flight in an Editorial published yesterday3.

  1. 55% compared to 1990 levels.
  2. Airlines for Europe (A4E); Airports Council International Europe (ACI EUROPE); European Regions Airline Association (ERA); Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) and Aerospace and Defence Manufacturers Association (ASD).

Note to editors

About ACI EUROPE (Airports Council International)

ACI EUROPE is the European region of Airports Council International (ACI), the only worldwide professional association of airport operators. ACI EUROPE represents over 500 airports in 55 countries. Our members facilitate over 90% of commercial air traffic in Europe. Air transport supports 13.5 million jobs, generating €886 billion in European economic activity (4.4% of GDP). In response to the Climate Emergency, in June 2019 our members committed to achieving Net Zero carbon emissions for operations under their control by 2050, without offsetting.

About ASD Europe

ASD is the voice of European Aeronautics, Space, Defence and Security Industries, actively promoting and supporting the competitive development of the sector by advocating common positions towards European Institutions and International organisations.

About Airlines for Europe (A4E)

Launched in 2016, Airlines for Europe (A4E) is Europe’s largest airline association,  based  in  Brussels. The organisation advocates on behalf of its members to help shape EU aviation policy to the benefit of consumers, ensuring a continued safe and competitive air transport market. With more than 720 million passengers carried in 2019, A4E members account for more than 70 per cent of the continent’s journeys, operating more than 3,000 aircraft and generating more than EUR 130 billion in annual turnover. Members with air cargo and mail activities transport more than 5 million tons of goods each year to more than 360 destinations either by freighters or passenger aircraft. Current members include Aegean, airBaltic, Air France-KLM Group, Cargolux, easyJet, Finnair, Icelandair, International Airlines Group (IAG),, Lufthansa Group, Norwegian, Ryanair Holdings, Smartwings, TAP Air Portugal, TUI and Volotea. Follow us on Twitter @A4Europe.

About Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO)

CANSO – the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation – is the global voice of the air traffic management (ATM) industry and is shaping our future skies. Our members support over 90% of the world’s air traffic and include air navigation service providers, airspace users and operators, manufacturers and aviation industry suppliers. We raise the bar on global ATM performance by connecting the industry to share knowledge, expertise and innovation. For more, visit

About European Regions Airline Association (ERA)

Founded in 1980, European Regions Airline Association (ERA) is a non-profit trade association representing over 60 airlines and around 150 companies involved in European air transport and is the only association representing the entire spectrum of companies involved in European aviation. The association promotes the interests of European airlines by lobbying European regulatory bodies on policy matters, promoting the social and economic importance of air transport and its environmental commitments.

Media Contacts

ACI Europe

Siobhán O’Donnell, Acting Director, Media & Communications
Phone: +353 87 2710065


Adrian Schmitz, Communications Director
Phone: +32 473 13 33 30


Jennifer Janzen, Communications Director
Phone: +32 499 82 82 94


Johnny Pring, Manager Europe Policy and Advocacy
Phone: +32 493 53 61 24


Paula Bangle, General Manager Business Development & Communications
Phone: +44 1276 485558


Make Europe the Hub for Net Zero CO2 Flight


We have an ambitious goal: net zero CO2 emissions by 2050. Whilst this is one of the industry’s biggest challenges, it is also our biggest opportunity to date. If Europe becomes the hub for decarbonised flight, we successfully lay the foundations for our industry’s long-term future. This will help people and businesses in Europe. It will also help aviation become a long-lasting and sustainable industry, securing green jobs and protecting the planet.

A clear path to CO2 reduction

The European aviation industry has a vision and a path for meaningful CO2 emissions reduction. The Destination 2050 roadmap has set this out in clear terms: building on the Paris Agreement and the European Green Deal, it sees all flights within and departing the EU, UK and EFTA realising net zero CO2 emissions by 2050. This is our sector’s most ambitious objective to date. Europe can lead these efforts worldwide.
Significant progress has been made since the start of this decade. With more efficient aircraft technologies, increased availability of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), electrification and a plan to deliver a net zero CO2 emission aircraft by 2035, a path towards net zero aviation has already been mapped out.

Will Europe lead or follow in net zero flight?

This is a unique opportunity for Europe. By pioneering green technology for the aviation sector, Europe can become the global hub for net zero flight. The continent has the potential to become the world’s largest producer of SAFs and green hydrogen. More importantly, it will secure thousands of green jobs, thus helping Europe to become a global economic leader in arresting climate change whilst doing good for our society.

A task for industry and political leaders

However, the Destination 2050 roadmap has made it clear that we cannot achieve this alone. While the energy transition in the skies will benefit us all, this is a task not only for the aviation industry but also for policymakers. The time is ripe for substantial political decisions. As representatives of the European aviation industry, we therefore unite in calling on the European Commission to join us in developing an EU Pact for Sustainable Aviation.

The Pact

An EU Pact for Sustainable Aviation would bring industry and policy makers together to form a shared vision, with common aspirational targets and high-level principles for related industry and policy decarbonisation roadmaps. Ensuring closer alignment between industry and policy makers at national and EU level will be key. We must also reinforce Europe’s leadership position globally, vis-à-vis the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and non-European countries.

A combination of measures is needed to reach net zero

In the short and medium term, economic and regulatory measures are needed to reduce emissions and price CO2. Smart economic instruments, such as the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) and offsetting schemes such as the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), can play a key role. A smart taxation regime can incentivise and support the decarbonisation of aviation without compromising its ability to deliver social and economic benefits. In addition, the digitalisation of Europe’s air traffic management operations and improvements in aircraft and engine technologies will help pave the way. EU support for collaborative R&D programmes is instrumental in this regard.

A long-term overhaul of the energy system

For the medium and long-term, we need to up the ante on our collective efforts. Simply put, we need to consider an overhaul of the energy system as we know it. This includes much higher levels of SAF uptake, as recommended by the Refuel EU Aviation Initiative. Hydrogen will come to play a key part of the strategy, with Hydrogen Hubs at airports supporting the transition. These measures must be accompanied with economic benefits and access to sustainable finance to support the transition to a net zero CO2 economy.

We know how to achieve the energy transition in the skies, but we cannot achieve it on our own. We need an EU Pact for Sustainable Aviation under the European Commission’s political leadership. This can make Europe become the global hub for net zero CO2 flight. We will all benefit from this – so let’s make it happen, together.