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2021-01-01 Commercial flights ended 2020 down 41.7% from 2019.
Total flights finished the year 27% below 2019 levels. Commercial traffic continued its slow rebound in December, rising to just 36.5% below 2019 levels (-39.8% in November).more

2020 09 29 "The industry believes that with the right support from governments, net-zero CO2 emissions from global air transport may be achievable by around 2060-2065, but it is likely that some regions will be able to meet this goal earlier with work underway in some parts of the world to identify those roadmaps. A number of individual airlines and companies in the industry have already set themselves net-zero targets." "The Waypoint 2050 analysis does not rely primarily on market-based measures such as offsets to pursue pathways to decarbonisation. However, it is likely market-based measures will be needed in the long term to deal with any remaining CO2 emissions or as sustainable aviation fuels ramp-up."  Air  Download Waypoint 2050 report

2020 09 14 Aviation is responsible for 3.5% of all human activities that drive climate change
A major new international study, the first of its kind since 2009, has now calculated aviation is responsible for 3.5% of all human activities that drive climate change. The study is unique in that for the first time the calculations have been made using a new metric – effective radiative forcing (ERF) – that was introduced in 2013 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Using the metric, the researchers found the impact from contrail cirrus is less than half previously estimated but is still the sector’s largest contributor to global warming. more

2020 08 02  Coronavirus: How the travel downturn is sending jet planes to 'boneyards'
Aviation experts say the pandemic has forced more planes to these "boneyards" than any development in recent history. Long haul airplanes are also being prematurely retired. Last week British Airways, the world's largest operator of the jumbo jets, announced it would retire all of its 31 Boeing 747s, 10% of its total fleet, ahead of a planned phasing out in 2024. In April, more than 14,000 passenger aircraft - equivalent to two-thirds of the global fleet - were grounded around the world, up from less than 1,900 planes at the beginning of the year, according to Cirium, a London-based aviation data and analytics company. more

2020 07 18 BA is the largest operator of Boeing 747s, with 31. 10% of its aircraft. They were to be retired by 2024 but BA announced that they will not fly again. BA has operate4d the 7647 since 1971 and had 57 at the peak. BA's newest 747 was purchased in 1999.  Virgin Atlantic announced the end of the 747 in May 2020. BA is reported in the FT to be assuming that 2019 passenger levels will not be achieved until at least 2023.

2020 07 18 Middle Seats. The FT reports that to break even on a flight, airlines need to sell about 75% of capacity, that's 8% higher than a plane with every third seat unoccupied and even then passengers are not 2 m apart.  American Airlines and United are selling the middle seats. Credit Suisse analyst Joe Caiado said in a note "Heretofore, the one sacrosanct rule in the cut-throat world of commercial aviation has always been that airliners never compete on safety." 

2020 07 14 YouGov polled Adults in GB between 2 - 3 July and found that while 45% expect to travel in the UK in the next six months. Nearly two-thirds of the public (64%) would not feel safe travelling by plane currently, up from 40% on 8 June. There is a similar unease about other types of international transport. Over half of Brits (55%) say they’d feel unsafe travelling by train. Only 12% of those over 65 are considering travelling abroad,  75% say they feel uneasy about flying, an increase from 47% on June 8th. more

European airlines – some of the European Union’s biggest polluters – are seeking billions in government bailouts amidst the Covid-19 outbreak, without binding environmental conditions.  Airline Bailout Tracker
Climate change: World mustn't forget 'deeper emergency'
Coronavirus recovery plan 'must tackle climate change'
The UK government's Decarbonising Transport discussion document published in March 2020 has nothing radical to say about aviation.

The aviation industry is our sector’s Achilles’ heel

There are challenges in all sectors of travel and tourism but the elephant in the room is aviation. Airlines emit 80% of our industry’s greenhouse gasses and air travel is growing at 5% per year. As other industries reduce their carbon emissions aviation will account for ever-larger shares of global emissions. More

A Manifesto For the Future of Tourism

Responsible Travel launched the first chapter of their manifesto for change in the tourism industry, The Fork in the Road. They are in the industry, concerned about its future and like all of us in the Responsible Tourism movement convinced that it can be fixed. But it needs to be fixed, we need to take action – business, as usual, is not good enough.

Watch their video.

Aviation fuel is untaxed, the polluter pays principle has not been effectively applied to the airline industry. When consumers pay a carbon offset, the airlines and manufacturers evade their responsibility.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation has successfully relied on the 1944 Chicago Convention to avoid taxation and to maintain business as usual. It has taken them almost 20 years to develop CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) and that will not apply to domestic aviation.

As Responsible Travel’s Aviation and Climate Change manifesto chapter makes clear carbon offsetting cannot achieve the change needed. In 2017 a European Commission funded research project found that 85% of offset projects under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) – some of the most highly regarded offset schemes in the world – failed to reduce emissions. From 2021 the EU will stop allowing offsets to be counted towards emissions targets, except for aviation.

Those who feel a degree of guilt about flying are encouraged to buy carbon offsets, imagine if when we filled our tanks at the service station we were asked to buy offsets. Would we?

Consider infidelity and off-setting

Consumers are increasingly demanding that producers and suppliers address the sustainability of the goods and services offered to us to purchase  – the same pressure needs to come on the manufacturers of aeroplanes and providers of flights. The aviation industry is our sector’s Achilles’ heel.

In the motor industry, there has been rapid progress in developing more carbon-efficient engines and in reducing emissions. Similar pressure needs to be placed on airlines and aeroplane manufacturers. The planes being brought into service now are expected to be flying in 30 years’ time, for sure the regulatory framework will be very different by then.

Aviation’s carbon footprint would fall by 11%, or some 16.4 million tonnes of emissions, if the EU were to scrap jet fuel’s tax derogation, according to a leaked European Commission study. Imposing a tax of €330 per thousand litres of kerosene could help address global warming, reduce noise pollution and raise €27 billion in revenues every year, a new study compiled by Dutch consultants CE Delft for the EU executive has revealed. The report, leaked to the press on Monday (13 May), found that ticket prices would increase by an average of 10% and aviation sector jobs would be cut by 11%, as a result.

Can we keep flying?  Decarbonising New Zealand's Domestic and International Aviation Wallace Rae & Paul Callister 2019

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