MONTREAL — Air Canada is doubling down on its commitment to advancing climate change sustainability by setting an ambitious new goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
To reach this, the airline 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 $50 million in Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and carbon reductions and removals.
“Economic growth and sustainability are equally important and we have a strong track record for both. Despite the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we remain deeply committed to long-term sustainability,” said Michael Rousseau, President and Chief Executive Officer at Air Canada. “Climate change is critical and we believe we can and must do more to address this for the future environment. This is why we are further embedding climate considerations into our strategic decision-making and undertaking a very ambitious plan that is meaningful, will support Canada’s leadership position on climate change, advance de-carbonization in the airline industry while keeping fares affordable for customers.”
Air Canada has identified the following key carbon reduction pillars:
- Fleet and operations: Air Canada will continue deploying its newly modernized 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. It will also 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: Air Canada will further evaluate the viability, safety and performance of new electric, hydrogen or hybrid operational technologies and other innovations such as short-haul transportation and electric drones to complement its global business network.
- Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) and clean energy: Air Canada will invest $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.
- 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.
Since 1990, Air Canada has improved fuel efficiency by 43%. From 2016-2019, the airline has reduced more than 135,000 tonnes of GHG from its air operations through fuel efficiency initiatives and 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.
- Implementing a technologically advanced livery paint and painting process resulting in significant weight and fuel savings, with no chrome, lead or other heavy metals and is expected to last longer when compared to standard paint.
- Operational improvements realized through more than 100 projects to optimize 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.