AOA - The Airport Operator: Summer 2023 Magazine

Dr Andy Jefferson: Sustainable Aviation Programme Director

Since 2005 Sustainable Aviation has brought the UK aviation industry together to collaborate on ways to respond to the climate emergency and tackle wider sustainability challenges.

In April the sixth iteration of our carbon work, called the Net Zero Carbon Road-Map was published. The chart confirms the solutions to cutting emissions remain the same. This Road-Map accepts that delivering these solutions will add costs to flying and this is forecast to have a 14% reduction on demand by 2050. The focus is now on accelerating delivery of the opportunities.

Given the UK has the right conditions to lead the world in developing sustainable aviation technologies 
like SAF and zero carbon emission hydrogen-powered aircraft. Plus, it has the third-largest global aviation network, a world-leading aerospace and aviation sector, and geographical advantages in both 
renewable energy generation and carbon capture capacity, what is the problem?

There are three key hurdles to overcome:

  1. Proving the sceptics wrong - We must overcome the ‘glass half empty’ perceptions from NGO’s and other third parties. 
  2. Solving policy barriers -  Today, the UK is competing in a global race to attract private investment that will drive development of the technologies to power net zero and create the jobs of the future. The US has passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes hundreds of billions of dollars in incentives for low-carbon technologies, including SAF and hydrogen production. The EU is also distributing billions of euros in carbon allowances to help subsidise the higher cost of SAF for its airlines. The UK Government is currently debating how best to respond?! 
  3. Improving how we solve problems - Net zero carbon aviation can’t be achieved by just an airport, an airline, air traffic and aircraft manufacturers. It won’t be delivered by another sector either, be that energy, hydrogen, finance, or carbon removal. It requires us all working together, sharing ideas, and learning together.

For more information about the work of Sustainable Aviation please visit the website or email us directly at 

Full Report - Pages 39-41