Aviation industry experts have called for more efforts to embrace innovative technologies to cut down carbon (CO2) emissions and promote green growth.
The sector players were also urged to embrace the new International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) carbon emission deal signed in 2016.
Last year, ICAO, sealed a deal aimed at reducing carbon emissions by half by 2020.
The aviation deal was agreed in Montreal by national representatives after attempts were made for nearly two decades to include aviation and shipping in UN’s climate agreements.
Hadi Akoum, the Airbus vice president in charge of sales in Sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East, said reducing carbon emissions will make airlines more efficient and profitable.
However, this will require airlines to embrace modern technologies and innovations in terms of equipment and infrastructure going forward, he added.
Akoum who was speaking during the Aviation Africa 2017 forum yesterday, told The New Times that African airlines including RwandAir could save up to 1.3million dollars per year if they went green.
Presently, air transport is an essential connector of the modern world carrying more than 3.3 billion passengers a year, a third of world trade by value and half of all international tourists.
The industry supports around 60 million jobs and 3.5% of global GDP, but still produces around 2% of the world’s human-induced carbon emissions.
As air traffic grows, particularly to power the emerging economies of the world, the question from the experts is how to balance that growth with the obligation all sectors face to control their climate impact.
For sustainability reasons, Adefunke Adeyemi, the regional director in charge external relations at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said airlines must take responsibility and reduce emissions.
“We are already working with our members and set targets for ourselves; we believe embracing innovation will help the industry be efficient and profitable,” she said.
Vitalis Ahago, the Regional officer Aeronautical meteorology at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) said previously the industry had promised carbon neutral aviation growth in the 2020s, and planned to align the ambitions of airlines with the Paris agreement limiting warming to two degrees Celsius, or preferably 1.5 degrees.
“At the last minute in Montreal, those plans were either watered down or dropped. Instead a compromise was agreed,” he said.
The emissions will be allowed to grow to 2020 but after that, emissions will need to be offset. The deal will be voluntary up to 2026 but most major nations are expected to take part, he added.
Countries, including the world’s two largest emitters, the US and China, have promised to join in 2020. Campaigners hope that this will spike ambition to make aviation carbon neutral.
Air transport generated 781 million tonnes of CO2 in 2015 representing 2% of the 36 billion tonnes of carbon emissions generated by human activities every year.