Are guilt-free long-haul flights possible? Explore the possibilities

Aviation faces a challenging ascent into a more sustainable future. Despite its commitment to reducing its planet-warming pollution by 2050, the industry is struggling to reach its target due to a lack of clear solutions. With around 2.5% of global carbon emissions attributed to the sector, the true climate impact is actually higher due to other greenhouse gases and heat-trapping condensation trails created by jet engines. This, coupled with the projected rise in air travel demand, poses a significant dilemma for the industry.

Commercial aviation is expected to double in size by 2042, according to Boeing, adding stress to the decarbonization efforts. Gary Crichlow, of AviationValues, highlights the industry’s decarbonization problem, emphasizing the absence of a non-carbon energy source that can match jet fuel’s scale, cost, and reliability.

Medium- and long-haul flights are the primary contributors to aviation’s carbon emissions, accounting for 73% of the total. Return flights from London to Bangkok, for example, can produce more emissions than following a vegan diet for a year, according to UK nonprofit group, the Aviation Environment Federation.

To combat this, the industry’s main focus is on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), which can lower carbon emissions by up to 80%. Although it’s currently used at a minimal level, SAF is seen as a promising solution. Gökçin Çınar, an aerospace engineering professor, suggests that SAF derived from waste, like used cooking oils, is the most promising short-term option, as it can be used in current engines with little modification.

However, the slow adoption of SAF is largely due to its higher cost. According to Ryan Faucett of Boeing, policy changes and production increases are necessary to lower the price, which could take years. Currently, about 0.1% of jet fuel used is SAF. Regulatory limits on the use of SAF are also an obstacle, with the industry hoping to increase these limits to promote more widespread adoption.

Hydrogen also presents a promising solution, offering clean-burning fuel that can potentially reduce pollution. The biggest challenge is redesigning current aircraft to accommodate hydrogen tanks, but if solved, experts believe that hydrogen could revolutionize aviation.

Despite the challenges, companies like Airbus and Boeing are actively pursuing hydrogen-powered aircraft. Airbus aims to launch a hydrogen-powered aircraft by 2035, with several concept designs already in development. Newer designs necessitating larger volumes for hydrogen could lead to transformative changes in aircraft production.

Incorporating newer technologies and emissions reduction methods, the aviation industry is working towards a greener future, however, the plethora of challenges involved make the journey to sustainability an uncertain and complex one.


Denial of responsibility! Vigour Times is an automatic aggregator of Global media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, and all materials to their authors. For any complaint, please reach us at – [email protected]. We will take necessary action within 24 hours.
DMCA compliant image

Leave a Comment