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The Importance Of Sustainable Air Travel

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The climate crisis has escalated to a new phase of risk, according to a new report published by the UN. As the 27th Climate Change Conference nears, the UN released data suggesting that the world was in no way close to achieving the goals set forth by the 2015 Paris Agreement – and that a point of no return was nearing.

Businesses across industries and across nations have been working towards reduction in reliance on fossil fuels and other pollutant practice, with the aviation industry leading the charge for research and development. Sustainable aviation might not be a wholesale solution – but does mark hope for a sustainable future yet.

What is Sustainable Air Travel?

Sustainable air travel describes the industry push towards reducing carbon emissions. The aviation industry is a global leader in greenhouse gas emissions, with the EPA indicating that air travel is responsible for 3% of national carbon emissions – and globally, 2.4% of all carbon emissions.

As such, there is a great deal of stigma attached to certain principles and activities surrounding air travel, particularly off-peak commercial and private air travel. For example: the less passengers on a given flight; the higher the individual carbon footprint of each passenger.

This is particularly problematic in private aviation, where empty planes often need to be moved to new airports or strips for new clients. Some private aviation outfits are solving for this problem, by selling tickets for empty leg flights to ensure fuel isn’t burnt in vain. As a whole, though, there is much more to be done to reduce the impacts air travel has on the planet.

Developments in Aviation Sustainability

There are numerous approaches to sustainability from within the aviation industry, from the development of green fuel alternatives to technological advancement on the parts of the planes themselves. Vista Global is a leading private aviation company, and the first in the world to obtain the Global 7500 aircraft – a private jet with peerless range, that enjoys better fuel economy as a result of efficient flight capabilities.

However, much of the tangible ground with regard to sustainability has been made through logistical change. The aforementioned ‘empty leg’ flights are a step in the right direction for minimizing wasteful fuel usage, while more fuel-efficient route-setting enables planes of all kinds to enjoy better fuel economy in the long term.

The Future of Sustainable Air Travel

While the ideal outcome of sustainability measures in air travel would be complete carbon neutrality, that is unfortunately not a reality in the short to medium term. Research is ongoing and many new developments are underway to reduce the carbon cost of air travel, but many of these developments will not bear fruit for some time.

In the meantime, the climate crisis continues to worsen, with the finger pointed at governments around the world for failing to act swiftly and responsibly in the best interests of the world. The aviation industry is working within its own parameters, but ultimately cannot achieve breakthroughs in fueling and long-distance flight without more investment.