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Securing a sustainable future for aviation: The pilots' perspective

European infrastructure, providing essential connectivity and promoting socio-economic cohesion and timely supply of goods and services. This infrastructure is a public good, part of the wider economy’s backbone, and will continue to play an important role with regards to safely air-connected Europe.

For these reasons, ECA is of the firm opinion that aviation must be part of the ‘green’ solution and set the basis now for being part of a safe and sustainable future transport system in Europe.

The need for securing a sustainable future for aviation comes against the backdrop of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, released in February 2022, which confirms that climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our times. It stresses that ambitious, accelerated action is required to adapt to climate change, at the same time as making rapid, deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. While aviation’s emissions represent slightly less than 3% of global CO2 emissions (prepandemic levels) they continue to increase. The estimated long-term annual improvement in fuel efficiency of over 2% per year will therefore not be sufficient to make aviation carbon neutral by 2050. Furthermore, in 2020, the consultancy Roland Berger forecasted that if other industries decarbonise in line with current projections, aviation could account for up to 24% of global emissions by 2050 – unless there is a significant technological shift, concluding the industry needs a revolution. Finally, the energy crisis which arose in 2021, worsened by the war in Ukraine, is expected to last. As a consequence, all industries heavily depending on fossil energy will be severely impacted in the future. Putting aviation on a green path will therefore be essential to make the industry more resilient.

Against this background, the aviation industry will have to engage on a very ambitious decarbonisation pathway, and scientific evidence shows that sustainable growth in aviation is achievable – provided bold measures are taken soon enough and by all relevant players concerned...


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