8 shocking facts about aviation emissions reduction

The aviation industry is working hard to tackle climate change. We’ve still got a long way to go, but consistent, dedicated innovation means that today is, per-flight, much more environmentally efficient than even a decade ago. Here are eight surprising stats exploring how the aviation industry has already cut emissions, and how we’re working to keep reducing our impact on the environment.

  • 50% fewer emissions per-kilometre

    1. Emissions per passenger kilometre have reduced by 50% since 1990

    In other words, for every kilometre you fly, your carbon footprint is only half of what it would have been back at the start of the 90s. This is partly due to the incredible pace of innovation in aircraft design, with each new plane approximately 20% more efficient than its predecessor.

  • 2. Greener manufacturing is cutting CO2 emissions by more than 30%

    Many manufacturers are cutting overall aviation emissions by pioneering amazing advances in greener manufacturing – which averages over 30%. By 2025, engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney is not only aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at its factory by 80%, it is targeting 100% waste recycling at its factories. Elsewhere, Airbus is using technology like solar panels and low-energy lighting to improve environmental performance during manufacturing, while similar innovation at Boeing has helped reduce greenhouse emissions at its factories by 26% over the last five years.

  • 90% less smoke and unburned hydrocarbons

    3. Planes today emit 90% less smoke and unburned hydrocarbons than 50 years ago

    Technological improvements mean that the air quality around airports is much better than it has been in the past. The newest aircraft today are so much cleaner that in some cases 95% of the particle pollution around airports now comes from cars and trucks.

  • 80% less CO2 than the first jets

    4. Planes today emit 80% less CO2 per-seat than the first jets in the 1950s

    This is a huge improvement, and we’re still working to drive CO2 emissions down. We’re so confident of our approach, that we’re committed to a cap on net aviation CO2 emissions from 2020 (carbon-neutral growth).

    As well as making sure that the planes taking off today are cleaner and greener than they’ve ever been, we’ll continue working to make sure that by 2050, net aviation carbon emissions are half what they were in 2005!

  • Aviation emits 2% of manmade emissions worldwide

    5. This means that we now emit 2% of manmade carbon emissions worldwide

    This is already substantially lower than some other methods of transport, including shipping and cars, and we’re working hard to drive this down every day.

  • Improvements in air traffic management cut emissions by 10%

    6. Improvements in air traffic management could cut CO2 by a further 10%

    As well as making sure we take off on time, ongoing improvements in air traffic management are helping to substantially reduce emissions. Technology improvements are allowing planes to fly on more direct routes (which helps to reduce unnecessary fuel burn), as well as making sure that flights take off on time and don’t spend too long idling on the runway.

  • 80% emissions reduction

    7. And sustainable fuels could reduce aviation emissions by 80% or more

    Sustainable aviation fuels are already being mixed with conventional jet fuel to power hundreds of thousands of flights a year, and we believe that they are a long-term alternative to traditional fuel. Even when the emissions created in the production of these are accounted for, their use can reduce CO2 by an astonishing 80% compared with fossil fuels!

  • Cutting emissions by 50%

    8. Which means we’ve committed to cut aviation emissions by 50% by 2050

    Thanks to improved technology, more efficient aircraft operations, infrastructure improvements, and offsetting we’re well on our way to cutting aviation emissions by 50% by 2050.

    There’s much more still to do, but we’re determined to make sure that the future of flight is cleaner and greener than ever.

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