Aviation continues to find itself under increasing pressure over its environmental impact – a trend that will only continue for the foreseeable future. We explore a key question for the sector: who should pay for aviation's decarbonisation?

Navigating the complex path to net zero aviation emissions

Aviation emissions are, effectively, hard to abate; as other transport modes or sectors are expected to decarbonise more easily, the industry faces a profound challenge to meet its self-imposed target of net zero by 2050. The task is complicated by the absence of an agreed roadmap, with many of the technologies expected to decarbonize in-flight emissions still relatively far from commercial maturity and scale. 

In reality, decarbonisation may see a complex mix of technologies to tackle aviation’s many sources of emissions, each contributing according to its own timeline. Conquering this complexity will inevitably come at a significant cost. Whilst aviation yields proven economic and social benefits through its facilitation of trade, tourism and friend and family bonds, still only a small proportion of the global population flies on a regular basis, and a mere 1% of the world’s population is responsible for 50% of commercial aviation’s CO2.2 This begs a key question for a sector with notoriously poor profitability and a relatively limited pool of frequent customers: who should pay?

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Would you like to prepare your business for advanced air mobility? We can help. Contact Edward Ataii of our Strategy team to explore how you can lay the groundwork and take advantage of these new technologies. We'd be delighted to hear from you.

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