Aviation has ‘lost the PR battle’ on emissions

The aviation industry has “lost the PR battle” on greenhouse gas emissions and “will be in trouble” when airlines return to full capacity, a senior industry figures has warned.

Eamonn Brennan, director general of European air traffic management body Eurocontrol, issued the warning last week saying: “People don’t believe us at the moment.”

Speaking on a Capa Centre for Aviation webinar, Brennan argued: “Aviation is about 3%-3.5% of emissions. [But] we’ve lost the PR battle.

“When people think of the big polluters they don’t think of the IT industry being 10% of emissions. They look in the sky and see [aircraft] contrails. If you ask people what is the bigger polluter, agriculture or aviation, most would say aviation.”

He reported aircraft emissions in Europe in the nine months to this September were down 54% on 2019, but warned: “When it [capacity] all piles back in we’ll be in trouble again. Unless we come through with something really good we’re going to be in trouble.”

Asked when there might be progress on a single European sky to reduce emissions through improved air traffic efficiency, Brennan said: “Something needs to happen. The problem is we have a fragmented air traffic control system. In the US there is one system. In Europe there are 42 jurisdictions.”

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