Commercial Aircraft Industry Looks to Go Supersonic and Super “Green”

Issue: 5 / 2021

The future of air travel looks to be both more environmentally friendly and faster as the industry looks to balance consumer demand alongside “green” goals. Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organisation representing the leading airlines in the United States, announced the commitment of its member carriers to work across the aviation industry and with government leaders in a positive partnership to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Likewise, Europe‚Äôs aviation sector has announced the same goal, which they call “Destination 2050”. A4A members include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, FedEx, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and UPS. Air Canada is an associate member.

A4A carriers pledged to work with the government and other stakeholders toward an expansion of the production and deployment of commercially viable Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) to make two billion gallons of SAF available to aircraft operators in the US in 2030. Earlier this year, the French foursome of Air France-KLM, Total, Groupe ADP and Airbus announced that they had joined forces to complete its first long-haul flight powered by SAF. The SAF bio-fuel used for this flight was made from waste and residue sourced from the circular economy. Total produced the SAF from used cooking oil at its La Mède bio refinery in Southern France and at its Oudalle factory near Le Havre, without using any virgin plant-based oil. French legislation calls for aircraft to use at least one per cent SAF by 2022, for all flights originating in France, ahead of a plan to gradually ramp up to two per cent by 2025, and five per cent by 2030, as part of the European Green Deal.