CAPA Report: Airlines With Narrow Profit Margins In Financial Jeopardy As Carbon Prices Rise

The airline industry will be a prominent target at COP26 and beyond. The aviation industry overall generates a relatively small 2.5% to 3.5% of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions, but it is a conspicuous target and is often (wrongly) viewed as the playground of the rich.

Even while the entire airline industry is under immense financial stress, investor and corporate customer demands are intensifying for clarity around the airlines’ plans to reduce their emissions further.

The top quartile airlines could have absorbed a 2019 breakeven carbon price of USD133/tonne, the bottom quartile only USD19/tonne, a differential of over USD110/tonne. As a result, airlines with narrow profit margins will be in financial jeopardy as carbon prices rise. At a USD30/tonne cost of carbon, over 50% of airlines analysed would have reported a loss in 2019.

CAPA Chart

This is explored in the CAPA-Envest Airline Sustainability Benchmarking Report 2021. The report is the industry’s first single source of truth on emissions, benchmarking airlines and their performance as they transition the net zero operations and contains 130+ pages benchmarking and analysing 52 airlines.
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