The 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic has brought a sudden holt to travel. The airline industry is now struggling to stay airborne as COVID-19 fears continue to haunt travelers across the globe. Amid thinning revenue streams and depleting cash reserves, major airlines are now under mounting pressure to promote sustainable, but significantly more expensive aviation fuel.
Airlines such as Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and Lufthansa Group are now racing against time to reduce carbon emissions. The carriers are offering passengers the option to lower emissions from their flights with contributions to the cost of using sustainable fuel, which is more environmentally friendly than traditional kerosene, but significantly more expensive.
Passengers flying SAS can pay $10 for 20-minute blocks of green jet fuel. Lufthansa Group which ended the trial use of a biofuel mix for its planes in 2012 is now once again prompting environmentally conscious customers of any airline to calculate the airline’s carbon emissions and then pay the Group to use greener aviation fuel.
Flyers, however, may no longer have the luxury to choose to pay more.
The European Union is considering the use of quotas to force airlines to use more sustainable aviation fuel on all flights. According to the European Commission, flights within Europe has increased every year from 2013-2019 and the airline sector was off track for the EU’s goal to become climate neutral by 2050. However, the pandemic has slashed carbon emissions from air travel as countries took extreme measures, including quarantine and border closures.
In January, the Norwegian government enforced a biofuel mandate requiring aviation fuel to contain at least 0.5 advanced biofuel. Norway’s 0.5% will rise to 30 percent by 2030.
SAS has also followed suit by increasing the blend in all their aviation fuel from 10% by 2025 to 17 percent by 2030.
In spite of the collapse in global aviation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the airline industry is set to miss by a wide margin its promise to cut emissions by 50 percent on 2005 levels by 2050. But, the worse is yet to come.
According to Climate Action Tracker, an independent group that assesses emission reduction pledges, the international aviation emissions will rise by 220 to 290 percent between 2015 and 2050 despite the sharp decrease in travel due to coronavirus this year.