How COVID-19 Changed Views On The Corsia Scheme
This is an abbreviated version of the article, Pandemic Crisis Underlines Corsia Limitations.
The COVID-19 crisis has changed everything for the airline industry—including attitudes toward the sector’s contribution to climate change. As the recovery gets underway, airlines know they will need to do more than simply carry on with sustainability plans initiated before the pandemic.
The industry’s global answer to the question of how to combat aviation’s contribution to climate change hit the headlines early in the pandemic.
Corsia development is continuing, but doubts are growing—both within the industry and among environmentalists—about how much of an effect Corsia can really have.
“Offsetting on its own is going to be insufficient, if only because the intangible mood music, whether from politicians or the public, is going to get louder about the perceived issue of aviation,” says John Strickland, director of JLS Consulting.
Some in the industry do see positives in the Corsia scheme, however. “We need a global framework,” said British Airways CEO Sean Doyle on April 26 as part of an online interview organized by Eurocontrol. “I think Corsia is a start rather than an end. And we need to work as an industry to make it more effective. . . . I think we need to be proactive in telling our story and take the initiative rather than have the initiative taken for us.”
British Airways itself is betting on sustainable aviation fuels (SAF): Its parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG), has pledged to power 10% of its flights with SAF by 2030, purchasing 1 million metric tons of sustainable jet fuel per year thereby cutting its annual emissions by 2 million metric tons by 2030.
Although that scenario is still far off, on a regional level, other aviation sustainability initiatives beyond Corsia are increasingly dominating the discourse.
In March, Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization representing major U.S. airlines, said its members were committing to work across the aviation industry and with government leaders toward achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Meanwhile, the state aid that airlines called for and received to survive the pandemic has directed attention toward sustainability.
In France, multibillion-euro state aid for Air France-KLM came with conditions imposed by the French government, including reducing domestic flights. And the long-debated idea of imposing a Europe-wide aviation fuel tax has once again been floated, while some member states are taking unilateral steps.
Read the full article - Pandemic Crisis Underlines Corsia Limitations - by Helen Massy-Beresford and Thierry Dubois.