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Aviation Trade Group Pledges Net-Zero Carbon Emissions

Members of Airlines for America (A4A) have pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.  By working with government and other stakeholders through a rapid expansion of the production and distribution of commercially viable sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), the 11 A4A members say they can reach that goal. 

The first step in this initiative is to have two billion gallons of SAF available to US aircraft operators in 2030, which will require an 84 percent annual average production increase.

A4A member companies include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, FedEx, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, UPS, and associate member Air Canada.

While A4A members are committed to working within the commercial aviation sector to advance viable technology, infrastructure, and sustainable aviation fuel, it is “imperative that the US federal, state and local governments implement supportive policies and programs that enable innovation, scale-up, cost-competitiveness, and deployment in each of these areas.”  Government must also avoid the implementation of policies that would limit the aviation industry’s ability to invest in emissions-reducing measures.

Several A4A members are already investing in SAF.  For example, JetBlue has announced a set of short- and medium-term targets to achieve net zero carbon emissions for its airline operations by 2040.  And Air Canada is planning to invest $50 million in sustainable aviation fuels over the next decade to help it reach its greenhouse gas net reduction goals.  But to achieve meaningful scalability, the aviation industry requires a “similar urgent commitment from policy makers, fuel producers and others in the feedstock and fuel supply chain,” according to A4A.

A4A is pushing Congress to include in proposed infrastructure legislation: a $2 per gallon SAF blender’s tax credit; further modernization of the air traffic management system to enhance efficiency; continuation and expansion of public-private aviation environmental research and development programs; US implementation of the international climate agreement called the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA); and to support emerging technologies, such as carbon capture and sequestration.

A4A acknowledges that airlines contribute two percent of the nation’s CO2 emissions, but says US airlines have improved fuel efficiency by more than 135 percent since 1978 — saving more than five billion metric tons of carbon dioxide.