A group that represents the UK aviation industry says that the cost of decarbonizing air travel is likely to raise ticket prices and make some people not want to fly.
Sustainable Aviation says that changes like switching to more expensive fuel that is better for the environment will “inevitably” lead to fewer passengers.
Even though there are “slightly higher costs,” people “still want to fly,” says the study.
By 2050, there will likely be about 250 million more passengers each year.
Sustainable Aviation is a group of firms that includes airlines like British Airways, airports like Heathrow, and manufacturers like Airbus.
Sustainable aviation fuel (Saf) would be a significant component of the industry’s “net zero,” journey accounting for at least three-quarters of the fuel consumed in UK flights by 2050, according to the report.
Saf is made from renewable resources like agricultural waste and cuts carbon emissions by 70% when compared to standard jet fuel.
But, it is now several times more expensive to create, which the group claims will have to be passed on to the consumer.
According to the analysis, implementing carbon offset schemes to achieve net zero will raise airline expenses.
According to Matthew Gorman, director of sustainability at Heathrow Airport and head of Sustainable Aviation, this “green premium” or process of decarbonizing air travel will have “some impact on future demand” for air travel.
However, he added that the business might still “expand tremendously” because most people were “willing to spend a little extra to fly.”
According to the Sustainable Aviation organization, the shift to greener travel represents a significant potential for the United Kingdom, which possesses the world’s third-largest global aviation network.
The UK government is funding in the building of up to five new Saf manufacturing units.
But, the group expressed fear that “substantial” tax breaks will entice investors to the US and the rest of Europe, leaving the UK out.
As a result, it recommended the government implement a system to narrow the price disparity between Saf and regular jet fuel.
At Farnborough Airport on Monday, ministers and aviation executives will announce an action plan for decarbonizing air travel.
Scientists warn that decarbonizing air travel is not easy to pull off
You may be hoping for guilt-free flying, but scientists warn that it is still a long way off.
Greener jet fuels with lower environmental impact are at the heart of climate-friendly aviation plans.
The transition to sustainable fuel is also critical to the government’s goal of reaching “net zero” flying by 2050.
Nonetheless, the Royal Society considers that there is only one obvious alternative to traditional fuel.
The UK aviation industry’s trade association said the industry was committed to the 2050 decarbonizing air travel target and that sustainable fuels will be critical to meeting it.
Flying accounts for 2.4% of total world greenhouse gas emissions and 8% of UK emissions. These gases contribute to global warming and climate change by warming the atmosphere, thus it is high time for conscious efforts at decarbonizing air travel.
Flight demand is predicted to rise, and governments and the aviation industry are experimenting with methods to mitigate the climatic implications of regular kerosene fuel.
The Royal Society report’s authors investigated four options for greener fuels to replace the UK’s 12.3 million tonnes of jet fuel consumed each year.
It came to the conclusion that by decarbonizing air travel, they could only replace fossil jet fuel in the short future.
Some airlines now use extremely modest amounts of biofuel, which is mostly derived from crops. For example, London Heathrow is the world’s largest biofuel user but only accounts for 0.5% of the airport’s fuel.
According to the Royal Society, producing enough to feed the UK aviation sector would require half of Britain’s farmed land, putting a strain on food supplies.
A fuel manufactured from hydrogen produced with renewable power is another alternative. Nevertheless, the United Kingdom does not produce enough renewable electricity to produce enough green hydrogen.
Another significant impediment is that for a successful decarbonizing air travel plane engines must run on something other than hydrogen-based fuel.
Ammonia and synthetic fuels are also being considered, although they require much more green hydrogen, and it is still being determined whether existing planes can utilize them.
According to scientists, it is uncertain how much each alternative fuel might lessen the climate implications of flying.
Nonetheless, they emphasize that an effective alternative fuel will most likely be created in the long run but that airplanes and airports must be redesigned.
They advocate for increased research into sustainable aviation fuel, claiming that it could become a global leader if the UK invested in tackling the problem.
According to them, a new fuel must be financially viable, safe, and globally applicable and have a high enough energy density to be utilized on long-distance flights.
Airlines UK, the UK airline trade association, responded that sustainable fuels were safe and becoming more prevalent and that the industry was committed to the 2050 ‘jet zero’ aim.
In response to the Royal Society’s claim that adequately supplying the UK aviation industry with sustainable fuels would put a strain on food supplies, Airlines UK stated that the UK had sufficient feedstocks, that they would be drawn initially from household, commercial, agricultural and forestry waste, and waste industrial gases, and that they did not compete with food crops.
Environmental activists argue that the government should likewise encourage individuals to fly less.
His organization wants the government to charge frequent flyers, a small group of persons who account for almost 70% of flights departing from UK airports.