18. Januar 2013
From 1997 to 2012, international air passenger traffic volume rose by close to 96% and cargo volumes by roughly 82% – despite higher costs from higher oil and kerosene prices, despite the global economic crisis of the years 2008/09 and despite some negative external shocks which temporarily strongly weighed on the sector (e.g. 09/11, SARS). In the same period, absolute CO2 emissions of commercial aviation (domestic and international flights) rose by “only“ roughly 27%, however. Thus, CO2 emissions in the sector grew less strongly than total global energy-induced CO2 emissions.
The figures show that CO2 efficiency of the aviation industry has risen perceptibly in the last few years. For instance, CO2 emissions per passenger in 2012 were more than one-third below the level of 1997. The reasons for the decline of these specific emissions are, among other things, the use of larger and more efficient aircraft.
For the time being, the absolute aviation CO2 emissions will rise, for global traffic volume in the sector should rise by 4 to 5% p.a. in the medium term. Especially in the emerging economies (e.g. in Asia and Latin America) the population has an enormous backlog demand for air travel. In these countries, the sector – in contrast to Europe – is much less in the focus of environmental, fiscal and regulatory policy. In some cases, it is even supported as an important driver of economic growth and the local labour markets.
In the medium to long term as well, the international aviation industry wants to increase its energy- and CO2 efficiency further, last but not least for cost reasons. From 2020, it intends to achieve CO2 neutral growth. And by 2050, the aviation sector even wants to halve its CO2 emissions (vs. 2005). Besides further technological improvements (e.g. more efficient engines, lighter materials), optimised flight routes (Single European Sky), approach procedures and operative procedures at the airports as well as the use of biofuels are to make a contribution. In our opinion, market instruments such as an emissions trading system that is as comprehensive as possible will also be required to achieve these ambitious targets.