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Flight Shame: Airlines Prepare for Technorevolution

Borders after long antiquated restrictions opened, inviting tourists to new travels. Planes in a sparkling metal shell return to the vast blue sky, gliding through the clouds on their way to the southern sun. Food on airplanes has never tasted so good after being imprisoned at home. And yet the bitter aftertaste remains, especially among environmentalists.

Airplane ticket

“The shame of flying”

Aviation generates 2.8% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, which has given rise to the public movement “Flight Shame”, which aims to reduce the impact of aviation on the environment.

Following a 200-nation climate agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, the aviation industry is preparing for a crisis as more and more people express concern about the environmental impact of air travel. Many airlines have already pledged to offer carbon neutral travel and consider alternative fuels. The introduction of electric aircraft also raises hopes for environmentally friendly flights, writes CNN.

Carbon neutrality by 2050

Flying without guilt is definitely a priority for the industry. At its annual meeting in October, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) signed a resolution in support of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. With an estimated 10 billion people flying annually by 2050, IATA expects emissions to be reduced through cleaner energy sources and improved aircraft designs.

“A possible scenario is that 65% [углекислого газа] will be reduced through the use of environmentally friendly aviation fuel “, – said Willie Walsh, former CEO of British Airways and now CEO of IATA.

Fuel derived from

  • waste from the woodworking industry,
  • tobacco,
  • sugar cane,

can already be used in many modern jet engines without any modifications.

British Airways plans to provide 10% of its flights with environmentally friendly aviation fuel (SAF) by 2030 and will invest $ 400 million in biofuels over the next 20 years. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways worked with a local university, Boeing and jet engine manufacturer SAFRAN to produce sustainable biofuels from halophytes, a salt-tolerant plant that can be grown in seawater.

In June 2021, London Heathrow became the first major UK airport to successfully integrate SAF into its fuel distribution system. Eco-friendly aviation fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%. It would seem, so what’s the matter if everything is so smooth and beautiful !? But here the key inhibiting factor is the price… Such biofuels cost about three times more than their natural counterparts. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, air travel is expected to become more expensive due to uncertain demand. Flights in eco-format are likely to be even more expensive, so it is too early to talk about the massive introduction of biofuels.


Alternative technologies

Airbus, the largest aircraft manufacturer in Europe, is betting on hydrogen, for example, last year the company switched to developing small electric aircraft with three hydrogen-powered zero-emission airliner concepts called ZEROe that could be operational by 2035. year.

There are still many obstacles to widespread adoption of hydrogen. And one of them is that airports do not have the appropriate infrastructure.

Ampaire Inc, another Los Angeles-based player, is developing hybrid electric systems for small-passenger commuter aircraft. Union Bank of Switzerland estimates the cost of such hybrid aircraft could be $ 178 billion by 2040. The Electric EEL is powered by a battery and a conventional combustion engine, which reduces emissions and operating costs by as much as 25%.

What you need to know when boarding a plane

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