Up until the start of 2020, few sectors were experiencing such sustained long-term growth as the air transport industry. However, the COVID-19 crisis has changed everything in a very short time. The industry is going to have to reassemble many pieces of the puzzle over the next few years.
Increasing aircraft efficiency is a key factor in reducing the industry’s carbon footprint.
Some of the factors involved in repairing the damage inflicted on the aviation industry by this unexpected crisis will be related to the recovery of the industry’s companies. But there are other concepts that remain relevant, and that when the time comes will be key to improving the industry. One of these is the sustainability of air transport in general, and of aircraft in particular.
In recent years the popularity of air transport has increased significantly among passengers, as it offers short travel times over long distances and, since the rise of low-cost airlines, very competitive prices. However, this popularity has its downsides. Since the aviation industry’s inception, fossil fuel has been the only source of fuel to power aircraft. As a result, the aviation industry as a whole is responsible for about 2% of total global greenhouse gas emissions.
Since the early 2000s, aircraft manufacturers have therefore been investing more than any other production industry into developing solutions to decrease that percentage and reduce their carbon footprint. But the overwhelming growth in demand has meant that any benefits achieved are immediately offset. Aircraft efficiency is one of the crucial factors.
Once the current crisis is over, we must not lower our guard. As air transport recovers, we will have to continue working towards making aircraft more efficient, allowing the industry to reduce its carbon footprint.
In this infographic we have analysed some of the areas where work is currently being done to improve the efficiency of aircraft and thus help increase their sustainability. There are many other areas of work, which we will address in future infographics, but here we can get a clear idea of the progress there has been to date and assess the work that is yet to be done.