A coalition of European aviation associations, including Airports Council International Europe (ACI EUROPE), AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD Europe), Airlines for Europe (A4E), Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) and European Regions Airline Association (ERA), announced today the launch of Destination 2050 – A Route to Net Zero European Aviation. The new sustainability initiative is aimed at providing a vision and path for meaningful CO2 emission reduction efforts in the industry in Europe and globally, and envisions all flights within and departing the EU, UK and EFTA realising net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

Vincent De Vroey, ASD Civil Aviation Director, said:

“This is a pivotal moment for sustainability and innovation for many industries, including aviation. The European aviation sector will take a strong leadership and collaboration position through its strengths in innovation and technology. The achievement of the goals of this roadmap is possible provided that the EU and national governments play their part through increased public funding for civil aviation research & technology. This will also have wider benefits globally, taking into account the European aeronautics industry’s global leadership.”

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 expected over the next several decades.

A report accompanying the launch of Destination 2050 highlights four key measures required to achieve the net zero goal. The measures include improvements in aircraft and engine technologies, use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), implementing economic measures such as emissions trading and offsetting schemes, and improvements in air traffic management and aircraft operations.

Tanja Grobotek, Director Europe Affairs at CANSO, said:

“The Air Traffic Management industry and the rest of the aviation sector in Europe have come together to present a solution to our common challenge – reducing carbon emissions, while still delivering valuable economic and social benefits. With improvements across the sector, we aim to make a meaningful impact and help to achieve Europe’s climate goals.”

The initiative also highlighted the need for quick, decisive action by governments and industry in order to enable its net zero initiative for European aviation while maintaining international competitiveness, including investments in decarbonisation and innovation, and the creation of incentives and reductions in investment risks with consistent and stable policy frameworks.

Montserrat Barriga, Director General, ERA, said:

“Robust economic measures and much needed government and regulatory support in the short term will be necessary to bridge the gap until innovation, technology and sustainable aviation fuels become more widely available to help our industry reach its environmental targets. Our industry wants to be a part of a clean recovery that has a lasting positive impact whilst still providing essential connectivity to Europe’s citizens; we will take positive steps to make it happen.”

Olivier Jankovec, Director General at ACI EUROPE, said:

“The decisive and tangible actions set out in this roadmap are unprecedented. Here we have an entire sector not just committing to decarbonisation, but actually charting the path to make it happen and effectively contribute to the EU’s Climate objectives and the Paris Agreement. But whilst we embrace our responsibilities, it is clear that we cannot do this alone. It takes two to tango. Now we need the EU to deliver the policy and regulatory framework that will enable us to deliver net zero European Aviation by 2050. We therefore urge institutional stakeholders to respond to our call and now join the EU Pact for Sustainable Aviation we tabled last November.”

Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director at A4E, added:

“This long-planned vision and roadmap for the future of European aviation underlines our sector’s commitment and determination to play our part in tackling climate change despite the current crisis. A robust regulatory framework will be paramount in achieving not only an environmentally sustainable future, but also a financially resilient and competitive European aviation industry as a whole. We remain committed to work with policy-makers to take aviation forward jointly for the next generation of travellers.”