Qantas and BP Announce Strategic Partnership to Reduce Carbon Emissions

by Chantal Welch

Qantas and BP have announced a strategic partnership to advance net zero emissions. The two companies will collaborate to reduce carbon emissions in the aviation sector and contribute to the development of a sustainable aviation fuel industry in Australia.

Qantas Boeing 747-400 in flight

Qantas Boeing 747-400 ©

Reducing Aviation’s Environmental Footprint

Significant progress has been made by the aviation industry in fuel and CO2 efficiency. This has been achieved through technological advancement and improvements in operations and infrastructure.

Pre-pandemic in 2008, the aviation industry agreed a global, sector-wide climate action framework – a world first. The framework is designed to help find the balance between the two goals – economic growth through connectivity, and reduction of climate impact.

Global initiative

Globe © Bill Oxford via Unsplash

Aviation’s Climate Action Strategy

The climate action framework is based on a set of three global goals: short, medium, and long-term. The short-term goal is a 1.5% average annual fuel efficiency improvement from 2009 to 2020. This is being achieved through the investment of new technology and by replacing older aircraft with newer, more efficient ones.

The medium-term goal is to stabilise net aviation CO2 emissions at 2020 levels through carbon-neutral growth. To achieve this, governments have agreed to adopt the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). With the agreement of CORSIA, aviation will be able to achieve its goal of carbon-neutral growth from 2020.

The long-term goal is halving net CO2 emissions by 2050 compared to what they were in 2005. Efforts are underway to achieve this goal. The main areas of focus being the development of sustainable aviation fuels and research into future design concepts by engine and aircraft manufacturers.

Qantas sunrise flight

Qantas sunrise flight © tailwindsandtouchdowns

Sustainable Solutions

With technological innovation, aviation is becoming more sustainable year-on-year. Each new generation of aircraft is roughly 15% to 20% more fuel-efficient. Additionally, sustainable aviation fuels can reduce CO2 emissions by around 80% compared with fossil fuels.

Operational improvements such as using new air traffic control techniques can also save emissions. As an example, landing an aircraft using a continuous descent into an airport saves at least 150kg of CO2 per flight. Adding wingtip devices to an aircraft can also reduce fuel use by 4%. Infrastructure efficiencies and improved traffic control management lead to less flying time. Shortening flights by a minute saves at least 100kg of CO2 per flight.

Qantas and BP’s Commitment to the Environment

BP fuel tank

BP fuel tank © Gunnar Ridderström via Unsplash

The recently announced collaboration between Qantas and BP combines BP’s global capabilities, skills, and knowledge with Qantas’ industry-leading sustainability and environmental strategy.

The two companies will be jointly focused on advanced sustainable fuels, advocacy for further decarbonisation in the aviation sector, renewable power solutions, carbon management, and emerging technology.

William Lin, BP’s executive vice president, regions, cities & solutions, said:

“At BP, we’re focusing on working with corporates in key industrial sectors that currently have significant carbon emissions to manage and need to decarbonise – sectors such as aviation.

“By bringing our complementary capabilities together, we can help each other, and our customers, move at a faster pace on the energy transition journey. We are delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with Qantas on plans to reach net zero while continuing to deepen our existing relationship.”

Qantas 747 at airport

Qantas 747 © Australian Aviation

Qantas is currently leading the way in sustainable aviation through its commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and implementing ambitious airline waste reduction targets.

It operates one of the largest carbon offset programs in the aviation industry, with around 10% of customers booking flights on choosing to offset their flights. Qantas and Jetstar double the number of flights offset by matching every dollar spent by customers. Qantas is also investing $50 million over the next ten years to help develop a sustainable aviation fuel industry.

Andrew Parker, Qantas Group Executive Government, Industry and Sustainability said:

“While the COVID crisis has compelled us to make many changes across the business, one thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to minimising the impact we have on the environment. Even though we have been flying a lot less, we’ve actually seen the same proportion of customers choosing to offset their domestic travel during the pandemic – showing that this issue remains top of mind for people. Airlines globally have a responsibility to cut emissions and combat climate change, particularly once travel demand starts to return. The Qantas Group has set some ambitious targets to be net carbon neutral by 2050 and while offsetting emissions is a big part of that in the next few years, longer term initiatives like building a sustainable aviation fuel sector in Australia, are key. This strategic partnership is designed to help build on this by leveraging the shared goals, expertise and reach of Qantas and bp to innovate together.”

Qantas 747 taking off

Qantas 747 taking off © Australian Aviation

As airlines fight for survival during Covid-19, it’s encouraging to see that the industry is still focused on sustainability, the future, and the well-being of our planet. As a key asset during the pandemic, aviation continues to lead the way with innovation and solutions for a better world.

What are your thoughts on Qantas and BP’s partnership? Should more airlines form cross-sector partnerships to tackle global issues? Let us know in the comments below

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