What is just about to go up in the air?! The development cycles of aircraft are quite long. It will take some time before new propulsion technologies actually take off. In the meantime, the greatest potential for saving greenhouse gas emissions per air mile lies in changing the fuel.
The air traffic sector is striving to reduce its emissions. Carriers belonging to the international IATA airline association have therefore pledged to pursue ambitious targets. The aim is to reduce annual fuel consumption by 1.5 percent by 2020 and to achieve carbon-neutral growth thereafter. CO2 emissions are to be halved by 2050 compared to 2005 levels. In its climate protection programme for 2019, the German government also set itself binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport.
In order to achieve these reductions, several approaches are being pursued by policymakers, industry and science. In the short to medium term, mixing alternative fuels with conventional kerosene offers particular potential for improving the carbon footprint of air traffic. At the same time, industry is researching completely new concepts such as the deployment of fuel cells or electric drives. Due to the long development cycles of aircraft and the amount of energy required, however, these new propulsion technologies can only be implemented in the very long term.