European countries and the aviation industry have signed a new agreement supporting the continent’s drive to decarbonise air travel.
The public-private initiative, known as the Toulouse Declaration, has been signed by 35 European countries and 146 aviation industry groups, including 77 airport operators representing 250 airports across the continent.
The declaration, which is said to be the first of its kind in the world, fully aligns with the sector’s European and global initiatives to achieve net zero CO2 emissions from aviation by 2050.
It promises to “strive to ensure environmentally, socially and economically sustainable and inclusive connectivity in Europe and worldwide”.
This includes supporting a “basket of measures with effective and ambitious interim milestones, to accelerate the transition of both the European and international aviation sector to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050”.
Initiatives to reduce emissions will cover areas such as aircraft technology, operational improvements, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), carbon pricing, financial incentives and providing more support to drive innovation
The declaration is also backed by the Destination 2050 group of five major European aviation associations, which launched its own decarbonisation roadmap last year setting out a joint industry long-term vision to reach net zero emissions.
Destination 2050, which includes Airlines for Europe, European Regions Airline Association and ACI (Airports Council International) Europe, also called for the European Commission and EU members to develop and support an EU Pact for Aviation Decarbonisation, which would involve dialogue with the industry to create concrete measures to reduce emissions.
These measures would include public and private funding of research and development of decarbonisation projects, as well as incentives to create more sustainable airports and encourage the use of SAF and the replacement of older, less efficient aircraft.