The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has disclosed that carbon emission per passenger has declined by more than 50 per cent since 1990.
The world body explained that much of the improvement occurred because the industry has achieved an annual fuel efficiency improvement of 2.3 per cent over the period since 2009, some 0.8 percentage points ahead of target.
This progress was a combination of investments in more efficient aircraft and operational efficiencies.
“Cutting per passenger emissions in half is an amazing achievement of the technical expertise and innovation in the aviation industry.
“But we have even bigger ambitions. From 2020 we will cap net emissions. And by 2050 we will cut emissions to half 2005 levels. Accomplishing these targets means continued investment in new technology, sustainable fuels, and operational improvements,” said IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac.
IATA said airlines have invested about $1 trillion in new aircraft since 2009, and have also signed forward purchase agreements for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) amounting to approximately $6 billion.
In addition, he said the introduction of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) would ensure carbon-neutral growth on international flights from 2020 and raise around $40 billion in climate finance.
IATA also observed that efforts to deliberately suppress air travel through punitive passenger taxes were inefficient and largely ineffective at reducing carbon.
“Taxation aimed at stopping people from exercising their freedom to fly will make travel more expensive but do very little to reduce emissions.
“It is a politician’s feel-good solution, without taking responsibility for the negative impact it has on the economy or the mobility restrictions it imposes on people with lower incomes,” said de Juniac.