Environmental challenges for the airplane market

For both economic and environmental reasons, airline customers demand ever-increasing fuel efficiency. Boeing and the aviation industry have committed to ambitious carbon dioxide emissions targets to achieve carbon-neutral aviation growth beyond 2020 and halve net carbon emissions by 2050 (compared to 2005). Boeing is playing a leadership role in leveraging technology and innovation in support of the industry's strategy by

  • Improving the performance of current jetliners and introducing new airplanes, such as the 787 Dreamliner, 747-8, and 737 MAX, that are significantly more efficient than the airplanes they replace.
  • Enabling greater operational efficiency through improved airline operations and advocating for modernization of the global air traffic management system infrastructure.
  • Championing the commercialization of sustainable aviation fuels that produce better than 50 percent lower life-cycle carbon dioxide emissions than conventional fuels.

This long-term approach will enable the aviation industry to meet its environmental targets and retain its license to grow.

Sustainable aviation fuels

Two aviation biofuels processes have already been approved for commercial use, and several more are on track for approval in the coming years. Already, conventional jet fuel blends with up to 50 percent biofuel derived from sources such as camelina, waste cooking oil, and algae have been used on more than 1,500 commercial flights. Increasing the availability of sustainable aviation fuel is a critical component of aviation's strategy to reduce emissions. Meeting airline fuel demand at price points comparable to those of petroleum-based fuels requires continued investment and government policy support. Boeing will continue to be an industry catalyst and advocate in both arenas.

Airport environment and growth

The Current Market Outlook projects a near doubling of the commercial airplane fleet by 2032. This will require many constrained airports to increase capacity. In some regions of the world, particularly Europe, airport communities have expressed concerns about the environmental effects of increased operations and airport expansion. Finding the appropriate balance between growth and community concerns takes time and can slow or limit progress in a region's capacity planning. The combination of new, cleaner, and quieter airplanes like the 787, and innovative operational procedures that take advantage of Required Navigational Performance (RNP) and other operational efficiency technologies, holds the potential to improve the environment around airports while enabling airports to sustain regional economic growth.