First of a two-part series analyzes sustainability efforts in air travel and points to alternatives.UTRECHT, THE NETHERLANDS – Air travel is experiencing a period of growth after a tumultuous three years due to the pandemic. According to a recent report from BCD Travel, it is expected to rebound stronger than ever because of the emphasis on sustainability. BCD Travel, a leading travel management company, released the first part of a two-part report on the future of airline travel.
A BCD survey of worldwide travel buyers revealed that nearly two-thirds (63%) of those surveyed rated environmentally sustainable travel very or extremely important. Travelers echo a similar sentiment. Travelers echo the sentiment. SAF is a term that refers to renewable fuels, or fuels made from recycled materials that meet certain sustainability criteria. While aircraft can fly with up to 50% blended SAF, full adoption of SAF remains a long way away. SAF accounted only 0.1% of total aviation fuel use in 2020. However, airlines are making plans to increase their SAF use in future. In order to reduce emissions from employee travel in BCD, Delta Air Lines and BCD signed the first ever SAF agreement.
SAF is being explored by corporate travel programs, with a growing number of companies committing to using it. SAF is expensive and not readily available so airlines are looking at other options, such as hybrid-electric, fully-electric and hydrogen powered flights. These can reduce emissions and may even be emission-free, although they are still years away. Rail travel is also evolving and is increasingly being considered as an option for shorter trips. Many large markets have high-speed electric-powered rail that offers faster and greener travel between cities than air travel. Combining rail and air travel can also help reduce carbon emissions. Delta is now offering its Air + Rail train connection program in Europe to provide onward train connections from stations located in airports.”Sustainable business travel goes hand in hand with sustainable aviation.
However, the biggest challenge in achieving net-zero is addressing carbon emissions from aviation, especially in light of the sector’s projected growth,” said Olivia RugglesBrise, vice president for Sustainability at BCD. “In the meantime, however each business traveler can play an important role in the future sustainability aviation. Each business traveler can critically assess the flight’s need and find sustainable options, such as flying on new aircraft or choosing direct routes. The future of aviation is in purposeful travel that minimizes impact and maximizes value.
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