A group of 10 global airlines, announced today the formation of the Aviation Climate Taskforce (ACT), a new non-profit coalition, aimed at tackling the challenge of reducing carbon emissions in aviation.

ACT founding members include Air Canada, Air France-KLM, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Southwest Airlines Co., United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic, and the alliance was launched together with Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

The aviation industry has come under scrutiny as a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, responsible for 2-3% of global emissions, with that figure potentially rising dramatically over the coming decades if no action is taken. Several initiatives are being pursued in order to address the climate impact of the industry, typically involving efforts to improve aircraft efficiency, develop sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), or create aircraft utilizing low or zero carbon propulsion systems such as electric or hydrogen-based.

Amelia DeLuca, Delta’s Managing Director of Sustainability, said:

“We’re still too far from real, scalable solutions to clean air travel. We need SAF to be just as accessible as oil and new engine technologies to come to market exponentially faster if we are going to meet industry goals. These coalitions help us more effectively impact our carbon footprint by pooling together resources and funding to define the next chapter of sustainable aviation.” 

ACT will focus mainly on critical medium-term solutions, such as the development of synthetic fuel and utilization of direct air capture. Over time, the members plan to expand the portfolio to include more near-term solution, such as bio-based SAF pathways, as well as long-term solutions, including hydrogen technologies.

The organization’s mission will be supported by two pillars, including an Innovation Network and a Collaboration Forum. The innovation network will aim to accelerate technological breakthroughs by focusing on early-stage research with plans to host innovation challenges to stimulate new patterns collaborations and research. The Collaboration forum will support the Innovation Network by identifying other ways to jointly reduce carbon emissions.

 Bob Jordan, Executive Vice President and incoming CEO at Southwest Airlines, said:

“Sustainability is a priority for our business, and at Southwest, we take our dedication to environmental stewardship seriously. We are honored to be a founding member of the Aviation Climate Taskforce and to collaborate with this innovative group on ways we can work toward decarbonizing aviation and advancing the critical science to support that objective.”

Looking forward, ACT aims to launch an investment fund to provide capital to rapidly scale-up emerging technologies that have the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of air travel. In the short term, ACT will concentrate on selecting focus areas within these technologies and setting up the Innovation Network.

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

“Air Canada is highly focused on its environmental performance and has committed to reduce its footprint further by setting a target of net zero emissions by 2050. Combatting global warming requires a global response, and we are pleased to be the first Canadian airline to join the Aviation Climate Taskforce. As a founding member, we will work with other global carriers and invest in emerging technologies to advance the decarbonization of our sector and build a long-term, sustainable aviation industry.”