The global aviation industry produces around 3% of all human-induced carbon dioxide emissions, with jet gasoline converting to CO2 when it is burned. A study on fuel consumption data released by the International Energy Agency estimated that global aviation emitted a total 1.04 billion tons of CO2 in 2018.
With the rising concerns regarding climate change and the urgency for sustainability actions, world leaders are introducing mandatory sustainability measures and targets for businesses to help reduce carbon emissions.
In the aviation industry, there are several solutions that can help airlines to become more sustainable, including:
Switching to fuels made from renewable sources
The top priority for airlines is finding a way to reduce the fuel emissions by identifying a better fuel to use than traditional fossil-derived jet fuels. Alternative fuels are being explored and there have been developments such as short-haul flights running on electricity.
Other options such as using hydrogen as a fuel are also being studied but this solution is currently a long way from being a viable option for airlines to use.
The more realistic fuel alternative for airlines to use soon is blended or drop-in fuels, which are known as Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs). This involves blending fossil-derived fuels with other fuels that have similar properties as jet fuel but release less greenhouse gases.
The standards are expected to take several years to be agreed although some advanced biofuels are already being used, but only account for 0.01% of global jet use.
Airlines will need to stay up to date with developments and be ready to make the switch to sustainable aviation fuels when these are readily available.
Reducing plane weight
There are lots of ways to reduce plane weight, but the most significant area of development is in the latest aircraft designs, for both the aircraft and the interior fittings. New materials and composites are being tested to reduce plane weight and improve aerodynamics, from the coatings of the planes to more efficient engines.
Heavy parts of the plane such as the seat mechanisms that enable passengers to recline their seats are also being replaced with lighter materials with more durable coatings to prevent the need to frequent replacement.
Using more environmentally friendly materials
Airlines can identify more environmentally friendly materials not only for the aircraft fittings but also in terms of the products they use. Items such as the tray tables are given coatings that protect them from food stains and cleaning products to ensure they are more sustainable. Switching from single-use plastics to more environmentally friendly alternatives is another significant solution.
Serving environmentally friendly meals
The sourcing of ingredients, production and transport of meals has a significant impact on the environment and airlines can serve more environmentally friendly meals by sourcing local ingredients, minimizing transportation and using environmentally friendly packaging. Reducing food waste is also an effective way to be more sustainable as an airline.
Using advanced catering management software can help to drive more efficiencies in the preparation and serving of airline meals. Find out more about how Lomature software can help your airline to become more sustainable.