Business aviation industry promises net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 by Reuters

Reuters File Photo: Business jets on display at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) exhibition in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on October 21, 2019. Reuters / David Baker

By Alison Lampert

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and other industry groups are committed to “net zero” carbon emissions by 2050 as the sector’s flagship private jet show kicks off in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

Business has joined aviation airlines and airports to bolster its plans to tackle climate change. Earlier, the industry had promised to halve emissions from 2005 levels by 2050.

Aviation accounts for about 3% of global CO2 emissions, and a geopolitical business in private travel is putting more pressure on the commercial aviation industry to reduce emissions.

Aviation brokers and other industry officials at the show told Reuters that buyers were looking for more efficient models and asking for offsets, but no one was stopping buying corporate aircraft or private travel because of the environment.

Although commercial aviation emits a fraction of the pollution compared to commercial, private travel has come under extensive scrutiny because it emits more per passenger than scheduled airline traffic.

“The world is demanding sustainability,” NBAA chief executive Ed Bolen told reporters at a breakfast rush.

One week ago, a group representing airlines around the world set the same goal at its annual general meeting in Boston.

Planemakers are adding more recyclable components to planes, looking for ways to lighten aircraft to burn less fuel, and working on a new generation of electric aircraft.

But corporate aircraft executives, such as airlines, agree that the fastest way to reduce emissions is to use Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), which is not widely available due to its high cost.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s website says sustainable aviation fuel is “made from renewable biomass and waste resources” and has the potential to deliver “the efficiency of petroleum-based jet fuel but with a fraction of its carbon footprint.”

“SAF will quickly decarbonze the industry,” said Eric Trapier, CEO of Dassault Aviation SA.

While SAF is now in very low supply to meet the demand for commercial aviation, a ramp of production can more easily satisfy private flights, Trapper said.

“Our customers, they are willing to pay a little more for fuel,” he said in an interview next to the show.

The French aircraft maker will bring the Flexon Falcon 10X jet engine, which is designed to run entirely on sustainable aviation fuel.

Trappier said the 10X has orders and it has attracted “a lot of attention” but will not give specific numbers.

According to Honeywell International’s (NASDAQ 🙂 business aviation forecast, 83% of respondents to the 2021 survey said they do not currently use any method to operate “environmentally friendly” flights.

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