Aviators calling for Greener COVID Recovery in Europe: European aviation has taken a hammering over the past three months. Now, even as passenger traffic channels slowly begins to restart, there is a lot of work to come to get the sector back to any kind of normality. Yet, coping with the unforeseen challenges presented by COVID-19 has done nothing to diminish the priority of the European aviation sector to reduce the carbon footprint. Last week, several air transport associations joined forces with the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) to call on EU leadership to prioritize decarbonization initiatives as they begin to allocate recovery funding for the COVID-19 pandemic.
It could be argued that aviation is possibly the sector most impacted by COVID on the continent of Europe. Yet, when it comes to the allocation of funds for recovery, the EBAA and others are advocating several measures that cover the scope of investment, operations, and structural efficiency, and not only the survival of struggling aviation providers. Here are some of the types of measures they want to see implemented: First, they recommend the EU put together a plan of measures to boost the use of and increase direct investment in, sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs). Envisioning Europe as a center of excellence for the development and production of SAFs, they are also calling for a green incentive scheme to encourage commercial airlines and GA operators to replace older aircraft with more modern and environmentally friendly aircraft. Additionally, they are appealing for the deployment of sustainable and environmental technologies for airports, airspace users, and air navigation service providers, as well as investment in sustainable infrastructure, energy efficiency, and onsite renewable energy at airports.
The EBAA rightly sees the COVID fallout as an opportunity to begin again with a clean slate and get even more on track to reduce air transport emissions efficiently. There’s no doubt that such an incentive scheme would speed up the green transition and help the European Union achieve its aim of climate neutrality by 2050. I feel this is their attempt to stitch air connectivity and decarbonization together in a way that works for both going forward, and they are correct: this is the time to do it. Let’s hope that these aviation policymakers’ calls are heeded by EU leaders when they allocate their COVID-19 recovery strategy. I commend the EBAA for their foresight on this.
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