New Civil Engineer - Crawford Burden

As a sector committed to reducing carbon emissions and limiting the impact of climate change, our long held practices increasingly challenge us to rethink and re-evaluate design. From the quantity of concrete to the use of wood, many old assumptions about the built environment need reconsideration when sustainability is placed at the heart of design.

The aviation sector is at the forefront of this challenge. Passenger numbers, despite the pandemic, are forecast to grow, surpassing pre-pandemic levels at 4bn per year by 2024 and up to 10bn people are predicted to fly in the year 2050, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Meeting this demand will necessitate an increase in capacity and there are major airport expansion projects planned or in progress across the world.

But this growth puts the aviation sector in a difficult position. Last June, the Airports Council International Europe, which represents more than 500 airports across Europe, committed to net zero carbon emissions from airport operations by 2050 at the latest. In addition, in October members of IATA – which represents 83% of global air traffic – committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. This means that a cumulative total of 21.2 gigatons of carbon needs to be abated between now and 2050, according to IATA. 

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