To realise the pathway outlined in Destination 2050, joint, coordinated and decisive industry and government efforts are required in the aforementioned areas.
A combination of four key measures can help achieve substantial CO2 emissions reductions in line with EU goals:
By 2050, improvements in aircraft and engine technologies and subsequent fleet replacement hold the largest promise for reducing aviation’s contribution to climate change.
Here is how improvements in aircraft and engine technologies can make a difference:
Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs) have major potential to reduce the aviation industry’s climate impact. With SAF use, net CO2 emissions over the lifecycle can be reduced by up to 80% now, and up to 100% in the future. Any SAF should follow robust and transparent sustainability criteria. Destination 2050 considers only advanced biofuels and synthetic fuels.
It is estimated that SAFs could account for up to 83% of the total fuel consumption in Europe by 2050.
Here is how the deployment of sustainable aviation fuels can make a difference:
Economic measures will initially represent the most promising option to rapidly reduce net emissions from European aviation.
The goal is to assign a price to CO2 emissions, ensuring that airlines and other operators take climate costs explicitly into account in their business decisions. Until SAFs and new aircraft become more widely used and breakthroughs such as hydrogen and hybrid-electric technology become available, smart economic measures are fundamental in reaching EU and global climate goals. The most effective measures are emissions trading and offsetting schemes.
Here is how economic measures can make a difference:
Emissions trading schemes:
Through the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), the number of available emissions allowances is capped and reduced each year to ensure that the EU climate targets will be met
In 2050, carbon removal projects (e.g. Carbon Capture Storage, afforestation) will become economically effective as a way to balance any remaining emissions. Destination 2050 assumes that by 2050, any economic measure used by aviation will rely exclusively on carbon removals, enabling it to effectively reach net zero CO2 emissions.
Improvements in air traffic management (ATM) and aircraft operations can make an important contribution to reducing aviation’s CO2 emissions in the short to medium term, contributing to a 6% CO2 reduction from European aviation by 2050. More eco-friendly operations are made possible thanks to a better collaboration between airlines, air navigation service providers (ANSPs), airports, pilots and air traffic controllers. Improvements are clustered in three areas: aircraft operations, air traffic management and ground operations at airports.
Here is how improvements in ATM and aircraft operations can make a difference: