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Airlines could become one of the larger contributors to global warming as soon as 2020

Contact: Tamara Vlastelica Bakic
Deloitte in Montenegro
Senior Coordinator
+381 11 38 12 100

Aviation contributes around six percent of greenhouse gases. Current emissions levels are forecast to grow in absolute tonnes and even more so as a proportion of total emissions, since expert forecasts suggest a doubling of the global commercial jet fleet to over 35,000 by 2025. In their effort to become “greener” and to reduce negative contribution to climate change, governments and airlines will face commercial, regulatory and technical challenges, says  Deloitte report “Aviation and Sustainability”.

Airlines are increasingly portrayed in the press as “sustainability villains”, who are untaxed and unaffected by any current agreement on emissions. Global initiatives to limit carbon emissions, and so global warming, are centered around the Kyoto agreement (negotiated in 1997, in force 2005), from which aviation is specifically excluded. Interestingly, airlines emission may cause as much as nine percent of the greenhouse effect, with much of the emission at altitude and therefore unable to be absorbed by trees and plants, nature’s carbon “scrubbers”.

According to Jelena Galic, Management Consulting director in Deloitte, “the way to address this issue may vary from adopting new national regulations and making intergovernmental agreements to concrete airline actions to reduce emission and “go green” that fall into operational, tactical and strategic categories. There are few immediately deployable operational steps such as: single-engine taxiing, shutting down of engines during delays, better measurement and reduction of weight, higher cruising (lower air resistance so needs less fuel), etc”. Bio jet, a sustainable version of jet fuel, does not yet exist, although there is some activity in this area. However, developing such a fuel at the laboratory stage is a long and expensive process and current engines are designed to run on the current fuel specification. If the fuel specification changes, the engine specification may also need to change. “In both cases there are numerous commercial, regulatory and technical challenges and therefore satisfying “keen to be green” may take some time. “, concludes Jelena Galic.


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