Twenty airline members of the World Economic Forum’s Target True Zero initiative have committed to utilising new technologies, such as electric, hydrogen and hybrid aircraft, to address the challenge of climate change.
The development and delivery of novel propulsion technologies – powered by sustainable energy sources – were highlighted as key towards helping the aviation industry minimize its environmental impact.
In a statement, the WEF said ‘the adoption of these technologies into the global fleet – through either new aircraft design or the retrofitting of conventional aircraft – can help reduce the climate impact of our operations while preserving the immense economic and social benefits that aviation brings to the world’.
The signatory airlines – Aero, Air New Zealand, Air Nostrum, Alaska Airlines, Amelia, ASL Aviation Holdings, Braathens Regional Airlines, easyJet, Finistair, Icelandair, Iskwew Air, Loganair, Mokulele, Ravn Alaska, SoundsAir, Southern Airways Express, Surf Air Mobility, Viva Aerobus, Waltzing Matilda Aviation and Xwing – operate over 800 aircraft and carry over 177 million passengers on 1.8 million flights a year and hope to use this influence to create market demand for new types of aircraft.
- Short-haul flights first – Shorter range flights were recognised as most likely to employ novel propulsion first. The signatories committed to working towards 30% of aircraft, that serve routes of 750km or less, that are added to their fleets from 2030 onwards employ novel propulsion technologies.
- Scaling the technology in the future – The airlines also committed to decarbonising longer range aircraft, once this becomes technologically and economically viable.
- Partnership – The signatories called on aerospace manufactures to prioritize innovation that will allow them to meet these goals.
- Public-private cooperation – The Target True-Zero airlines also urged governments to do their part in supporting the transition to cleaner aviation. Key calls included establishing policies to provide incentives for operators to adopt these technologies and addressing the infrastructure issues needed to support their use in airports across the world.
Timothy Reuter, Head of Aerospace and Drones, of the World Economic Forum said
The Target True Zero initiative will address the role novel propulsion technologies like electric and hydrogen aviation can play in the transition to an aviation system with true zero climate impacts.
It will address issues in the areas of technology, industry dynamics, infrastructure and supply chain, regulation, and public acceptance.
By accelerating the adoption of solutions with fewer climate impacts, we can ensure equitable growth around the globe while ensuring a healthy planet for future generations.
Uma Subramanian, Chief Executive Officer, Aero said
At Aero, we are deeply committed to charting our industry’s path to zero emissions and minimising its environmental impact.
We are proud to work with the World Economic Forum and industry leaders to accelerate change in the aviation sector and tackle the most pressing issue of our generation.
The World Economic Forum launched the Target True Zero Initiative in July 2021.
The Initiative aims to develop understanding about how novel propulsion technology can help address aviation’s climate impacts and how the deployment and scaling of these technologies can be accelerated.
Twenty member airlines from across the aviation sector joined the 10 November statement, from global market leaders to local commuter airlines, along with knowledge partners McKinsey and Company, the Aviation Impact Accelerator at the University of Cambridge and the Aviation Environment Federation; and with generous support from the Quadrature Climate Foundation and Breakthrough Energy.