Accelerating Aviation’s Green Transition at ICAO: A Milestone Agreement

ACI World by ACI World | Mar 22, 2024

ACI World advocacy serves as a powerful catalyst for championing change and igniting transformation across the aviation system. The ripple effects of our efforts extend from the global stage to the ground level, enhancing airport operations and enriching the experiences of passengers and employees alike. Through our new series, Championing Change, we offer an insider’s view into ACI World’s unwavering dedication to advancing a sustainable air transport system that we can all take pride in.

The sustainability of the aviation industry stands as a cornerstone of our mission, a commitment woven into the fabric of our operations. Last November 2023, at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Third Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels (CAAF/3) held in Dubai, a historic milestone was achieved. ICAO, along with its member states, adopted a global framework for Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), Low Carbon Aviation Fuels (LCAF), and other cleaner energy sources for the aviation industry. This pivotal agreement also set a bold 2030 goal for SAF deployment worldwide.

ACI World advocacy for SAF uptake

Representing the global airport industry, Airports Council International (ACI) World played a crucial role in advocating for these outcomes. Michael Rossell, Advisor of International Relations, and Jennifer Desharnais, Director of Sustainability & Environmental Protection at ACI World, were active participants at the CAAF/3 event.

Jennifer Desharnais, Director of Sustainability & Environmental Protection and Michael Rossell, Advisor of International Relations

ACI World’s support for transitioning away from fossil fuels in the aviation sector was unwavering; pushing for an ambitious quantified goal for SAF deployment by 2030, and emphasizing the necessity of a 5% reduction in CO2 emissions from international aviation as a starting point.

Airports at the forefront of decarbonization

Airports, as integral components of the aviation ecosystem, are pivotal in driving change. Committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions for their own by 2050, airports have long been implementing measures towards this objective. The success of programs like the ACI Airport Carbon Accreditation program underscores this commitment.

Furthermore, airports have been addressing their scope 3 emissions and supporting stakeholders in their decarbonization efforts. This includes engaging with fuel suppliers, airlines, and regulators to facilitate the adoption of SAF.

What this milestone brings to airports and the aviation industry

The adoption of the ICAO SAF Vision, including Lower Carbon Aviation Fuels (LCAF) and other cleaner energy for aviation, coupled with a supportive global framework, enhances airports’ participation in the global energy transition and fosters collaboration to increase SAF supply.

This agreement reaffirms airports’ leadership in combating climate change, bolstering their brand reputation and demonstrating Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) compliance. Additionally, it offers passengers and corporate customers more sustainable travel options as SAF supply expands and alternative fuels enter the market.

The significance of this agreement extends beyond environmental benefits. It provides much-needed certainty to investors and the finance community, spurring investment in scaling up SAF deployment and cleaner energy sources. Moreover, it equips States with a framework to implement policies conducive to scaling SAF and cleaner energies, thereby accelerating the industry’s green energy transition.

ACI-ATI Integration of SAF in the Air Transport System
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A historic shift for aviation climate neutrality

SAF will play a pivotal role in achieving climate neutrality for the aviation industry, marking a historic shift towards cleaner flying and yielding benefits beyond CO2 emission reductions. As aviation embraces this transformative change, the industry moves closer to realizing the ICAO Long Term Aspirational Goal and fulfilling its decarbonization commitments. With ACI World working behind the scenes: the adoption of SAF signifies a landmark moment in aviation’s journey towards a sustainable future.

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