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| 1 minute read

Turning Aspiration into Reality: NetZero and Airports

ICAO and NetZero

It is significant that 2500 delegates from 184 Member States of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) adopted a collective long-term global aspirational goal (LTAG) of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Admittedly, it is a bit unusual to set an "aspirational" goal for 28 years in the future. Why not just set a goal?

In fact, some ICAO members are today placing restrictions on aviation operations and/or trying to divert shot-haul aviation routes to markets where there are available intercity rail services. But let's be fair: corralling 184 nations to do anything in today's world, even something as critical as preventing climate disaster, is impressive and should be applauded.

In that spirit, I was heartened by Airports Council International (ACI), whose Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira offered the following, "[o]n a global scale, airports and ACI remain fully committed to reach this net zero goal and we look forward to collaboration across the aviation community to reach this." Surely the Director General has has own member airports who have told him that "license to fly" in their nations is dependent on demonstrable progress toward, and realization of, the 2050 goal.

Steer is helping airports think through the process of innovation to achieve their own NetZero goals and make contributions toward the industry goal. Our framework: "Airports as Takers, Airport as Shapers and Airports as Makers," reflects the different market power airports have, the strategies they have available, and how their own measures align with the responsibilities of airline partners and energy providers.

Pressure on the industry will only accelerate with each passing year--at the next ICAO Assembly, the world may demand more than a 2050 aspirational goal; I have no doubt that in Europe and North America, our populations will demand more. In any case, it is clear that younger populations, who will be the future customers of airlines and airports, will not accept excuses that the aviation industry's challenges are too difficult and our aspirations will not be possible to meet.

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