Aviation is a key driver for the global economy, connecting people and businesses across the globe. It provides channels for trade and enables the fast-paced movement of new technologies and business opportunities.
The industry’s global economic impact is currently estimated to be $2.7 trillion, equivalent to 3.6% of global gross domestic product (GDP). Industry forecasts suggest that the global aviation industry could see an increase in passengers to over 7.7 billion by 2036 and contribute to an economic impact of $5.7 trillion. Currently, the industry directly provides jobs to over 10 million people and indirectly to almost 66 million.
In 2017, global aviation served over 45,000 routes globally, conducting over 41.9 million scheduled commercial flights and carrying over 4.1 billion passengers worldwide. These numbers are no surprise, because air travel remains the most efficient mode of long-distance transport compared with road and rail. For some routes, flying is considered the only practical alternative. These benefits, however, come with environmental costs that must be considered.
The aviation industry accounts for approximately 2-3% of global manmade greenhouse gas emissions, producing 859 million tonnes of CO2 in 2017. Moreover, as air traffic is forecast to double in the next 15 years, the rate of emissions is only set to increase. For the industry to grow sustainably, measures need to be taken to reduce aviation-related emissions and ensure the carbon-neutral growth of the industry.
In 2008, the global aviation industry established a climate action framework setting global goals for the industry to mitigate CO2 emissions from air transport. The industry aims to lower greenhouse gas emissions from air transportation by improving average annual fuel efficiency by 1.5% from 2009 to 2020, achieving carbon-neutral growth from 2020 onwards, as well as halving net aviation carbon emissions by 2050.
The aviation industry is taking action to limit its environmental impact and has already been collaborating and introducing measures to reduce the aviation emissions.