Despite the Covid-19 crisis, airlines are investing in ecological transition

With the pandemic, airlines around the world are expected to lose around 45 billion euros in 2021, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). This does not prevent them from investing to pollute less.

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The Covid-19 pandemic is costing airlines dearly. For 2020, the hole already amounted to more than 120 billion euros. By cumulating the two years (2020 and 2021), we approach the 200 billion losses according to theInternational Air Transport Association (IATA). These losses are monumental and represent a first in airline commercial history.

To get through the crisis, there was significant public aid. All the companies have also dramatically reduced their costs and adapted their activities. But the impact remains very contrasted depending on the major geographic areas. For example, American companies have benefited from a stronger domestic market, while European companies – more exposed to long-haul networks still paralyzed by restrictions or border closures – continue to suffer from the situation. Globally, IATA expects 2.3 billion people to fly in 2021 and nearly 3.5 billion next year.

Airlines have no choice. Regardless of the pressure from environmental associations, the ecological transition is essential. Despite the financial difficulties, airlines from around the world, meeting Monday, October 4 in congress in Boston in the United States, have committed to achieving zero CO2 emissions by 2050. Air today represents around 3% of total carbon emissions worldwide. To meet its targets, the sector relies on renewable fuels, electric propulsion and hydrogen.

But there is one big black spot: China is dragging its feet. Beijing does not want to hear about the 2050 goal for zero CO2 emissions for its aircraft fleets. She wants to add ten years, far from any consensus.

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