Emirates decides to tackle the problem of air transport pollution
Dubai-based Emirates said on Monday (January 30) that it wants to reach the 50% sustainable fuel target for its flights by 2030, as the rich Gulf emirate hosts a controversial COP28 this year.
The Emirati airline launched on Monday, January 30 a first demonstration flight with a Boeing 777-300ER without passengers, with 100% sustainable fuel in its engine from Dubai International Airport.
Airlines are blamed for pollution by environmentalists, and the 300 or so airlines claiming 83% of the world’s air traffic and united in the International Air Transport Association (IATA) are calling for increased production of sustainable aviation fuels.
“If, by 2030, 50% of fuel comes from SAF, that would be a big step forward, but it will depend on the ability of companies to produce it and deliver it to airports,” warned Adel Al-Redha, chief operating officer at Emirates.
It is important that producers make efforts as well and “offer affordable prices” because high costs would be an “obstacle for airlines or companies,” he said.
Before the pandemic, SAF production was only 25 million liters, according to IATA, while aviation consumed some 413 billion liters of fuel in the same year, according to figures from the International Energy Agency.
Major producers have increased their production to 200 million liters by 2022, according to IATA, which hopes to reach 30 billion liters per year by 2030 in its ambitious “net-zero” CO2 emissions project for air transport by 2050.
Leading environmental NGOs accuse the airline industry of disproportionately promoting these alternative fuels, which they say are used only marginally.
Dubai is the major hub for air transport, and the United Arab Emirates will host the next UN climate conference, COP28, at the end of the year, against a backdrop of criticism from NGOs, as the country is one of the world’s leading crude oil exporters.