Air Canada, Canada’s largest domestic and international airline, announced today a series of sustainability goals, including a commitment to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) throughout its global operations by 2050.  The airline’s new initiatives include interim targets for GHG reductions, as well as commitments to invest in climate solutions including sustainable aviation fuel and carbon reduction technologies.

Michael Rousseau, President and Chief Executive Officer at Air Canada, said:

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“Economic growth and sustainability are equally important, and we have a strong track record for both. Despite the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we remain deeply committed to long-term sustainability. Climate change is critical, and we believe we can and must do more to address this for the future of our environment. This is why we are further embedding climate considerations into our strategic decision-making, and undertaking a very ambitious plan that is meaningful, will support Canada’s leadership position on climate change, advance de-carbonization in the airline industry while keeping fares affordable for customers.”

In addition to the long-term net zero target, Air Canada also set interim goals of achieving 20% GHG net reductions from flights plus 30% GHG net reductions from ground operations by 2030, compared to a 2019 baseline. In addition, the airline pledged to invest $50 Million in Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), and carbon reductions and removals.

The airline’s emissions reduction initiatives will follow several key pillars, including deploying a modernized, energy efficient fleet, innovative solution such as electric, hydrogen or hybrid operational technologies, sustainable aviation fuels and clean energy, and the exploration of carbon negative emission technologies and other direct emission reduction and removal strategies.

Air transport has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years as a significant contributor to GHG emissions. According to European Commission estimates, aviation accounts for 2% of global GHG emissions. Without efficiency improvements, aviation emissions are likely to increase along with the steady rise in air travel forecast over the next several decades. Air Canada joins a few other airlines who have made net zero pledges, including United Airlines, who set its own commitment late last year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100% by 2050.