The Qantas Group has today announced ambitious plans to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 in a major expansion the airline says is their part in “creating a more sustainable aviation industry.”
Qantas, Jetstar*, QantasLink and Qantas Freight will offset all growth in emissions from domestic and international operations from 2020.
Committing to actions starting from today, Australia’s national carrier will: Immediately double the number of flights being offset, Cap net emissions from 2020 onwards and invest AU$50 million over 10 years to help develop a sustainable aviation fuel industry.
The group says the commitments are “the most ambitious carbon emissions targets of any airline group globally to date.”
Today’s announcement also means that Qantas is currently the only airline group to commit to cap its net emissions at 2020 levels, and the second (after British Airways) to commit to net zero emissions by 2050.
So what does this all mean?
The aviation industry, which contributes around 2 per cent of global CO2 emissions, has committed to halving emissions by 2050 compared to 2005 levels. It was the first industry to make such commitments. Qantas had signed up to those commitments but says they will now exceed them.
After flying the world’s first zero-waste flight earlier this year, Qantas says they will work with industry, research institutions and governments to develop long-term solutions to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation industry over the next three decades.
“We recognise that airlines have a responsibility to cut emissions and combat climate change. We’ve already made some good progress, especially by investing in newer aircraft that have a much smaller carbon footprint.”
Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO
So how will they do it?
BY OFFSETTING FLIGHTS
From today, Qantas and Jetstar will double the number of flights offset by matching every dollar spent by customers who tick the box to fly carbon neutral.
Qantas currently operates the largest carbon offset program in the aviation industry, with around 10 per cent of customers booking flights on Qantas.com choosing to offset their flights. The global average for customers choosing to offset their flights on other airlines is only 1%.
The group says that “by matching our customers’ commitment, we expect even more people to offset their emissions.”
This additional investment will see Qantas Future Planet, which is already the largest private-sector buyer of Australian carbon credits, support more conservation and environmental projects in Australia and around the world.
Existing projects include protecting the Great Barrier Reef, working with Indigenous communities to reduce wildfires in Western Australia and securing over 7000 hectares of native Tasmanian forest.
WITH SUSTAINABLE AVIATION FUEL
Qantas will invest $50 million over the next ten years to help develop a sustainable aviation fuel industry.
Sustainable aviation fuel can reduce carbon emissions by eighty per cent compared to traditional jet fuel, but are currently almost double the price.
Qantas says they will work with governments and private sector partners to support the development of sustainable aviation fuel in Australia and overseas to make it more viable and increase demand throughout the industry.
The national carrier will also continue to reduce its emissions through continued investment in more fuel-efficient aircraft, more efficient operations such as single-engine taxiing, and smarter flight planning to reduce fuel burn.
Qantas is on track to replace its Boeing 747 fleet by the end of 2020 with the more fuel-efficient B787 Dreamliners, which burn 20 per cent less fuel than aircraft of a similar size.
Jetstar’s A321neo (LR) aircraft, which will begin arriving next year, use 15 per cent less fuel than the aircraft they are replacing.
While the Qantas Group continues to work with aircraft and engine manufacturers on next-generation technology to deliver a further step-change in emissions reduction they say that innovations “such as electric aircraft engines are still some time away.”
“Concerns about emissions and climate change are real, but we can’t lose sight of the contribution that air travel makes to society and the economy. The industry has already come a long way in cutting its footprint and the solution from here isn’t to simply ‘fly less’ but to make it more sustainable.
“We’re doing this because it’s the responsible thing to do, but hopefully it will also encourage more people to choose Qantas and Jetstar because of the action we’re taking.”
Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO
Find out more: Qantas Future Planet
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