Air Canada targets zero emissions by 2050

Airline focused on innovative, long-term, sustainable emission reduction solutions

Air Canada has set ambitious climate targets to realise a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) throughout its global operations by 2050.

To reach this, Air Canada has set absolute midterm GHG net reduction targets by 2030 in its air and ground operations, compared to its 2019 baseline, and has committed to investing CAD$50 million in Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and carbon reductions and removals.

The vision is focused on investing in innovative, long-term, sustainable emission reduction solutions.

Absolute 2030 midterm GHG reduction targets have been set to ensure meaningful progress towards Air Canada’s ambitions net-zero goal while the airline, technology and energy sectors are transitioning to low carbon alternatives.

Air Canada A220-300

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Air Canada has identified the following key carbon reduction pillars:

Fleet and operations. Air Canada will continue deploying its newly modernised and energy-efficient Airbus A220 and Boeing 737 MAX narrow-body fleets that are more efficient and expected to average approximately 20% less fuel consumption per seat and emit approximately 20% less CO2 and 50% less nitrogen oxides than aircraft they replace, continue to integrate climate factors in route and fleet planning, phase out carbon-intensive ground equipment, further advance electric vehicles and seek other electrification opportunities.

Innovation. Further evaluate the viability, safety and performance of new electric, hydrogen or hybrid operational technologies, and other innovations such as short-haul transportation opportunities and electric drones to complement and support Air Canada’s global business network.

Sustainable Aviation Fuels and clean energy. To further its work on sustainable aviation fuels, Air Canada will invest CAD$50 million in SAF and other low carbon aviation fuel (LCAF) development, evaluate the practical applications of renewable energy sources such as biogas and renewable electricity, and energy transition measures.

Air Canada Priority Check-In, Toronto Pearson International Airport

Carbon Reductions and Removals. Air Canada will explore carbon-negative emission technologies and other direct emission reduction and removal strategies in addition to further developing its carbon offset strategy for CORSIA compliance, customer offerings and more.

Air Canada has built a solid foundation in energy sustainability through numerous comprehensive initiatives to reduce its environment footprint. Since 1990, Air Canada has improved fuel efficiency by 43%. From 2016 to 2019, the airline reduced more than 135,000 tonnes of GHG from its air operations through fuel efficiency initiatives. Its work in fuel sustainability includes:

  • Participating in eight biofuel flights with ongoing, active support for the development of SAF in Canada, including working with the Government of Canada on policy development to support a Canadian-based sustainable aviation fuel industry.
  • Lead airline on Canada’s Biojet Supply Chain Initiative (CBSCI), a project to identify and solve supply logistic barriers that arise when aviation biofuels are introduced at major Canadian airports.
  • Contributing to the Civil Aviation Alternate Fuel Contrail and Emissions Research project (CAAFCER) to test the environmental benefits of biofuel use on contrail formation, benefiting all aviation stakeholders and climate science researchers.
Air Canada Concierge Group
  • Implementing a technologically advanced livery paint and painting process resulting in significant weight and fuel savings, with no chrome, lead or other heavy metals, which is expected to last longer when compared to standard paint.
  • Operational improvements realised through more than 100 projects to optimise fuel consumption, including profile departure, RNPAR (a type of performance-based navigation), single engine taxiing to aircraft weight reduction such as the use of lightweight crew luggage, iPads for pilots replacing paper manuals and lighter-weight composite onboard carts.

More information about Air Canada’s ESG activities is detailed in the airline’s Corporate Sustainability Report, Citizens of the World.

All images courtesy of Air Canada

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