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 CO2 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 global air traffic management system infrastructure modernization.
- Championing the commercialization of sustainable aviation fuels that produce 50 percent or lower life-cycle CO2 emissions than conventional fuels.
Sustainable aviation fuels
Sustainable aviation fuel received a significant boost in the past year when the ASTM international standards organization approved the commercial use of fuel blends. Since that approval, conventional jet fuel blends with up to 50 percent biofuel derived from sources such as jatropha, camelina, algae, and other oils 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 life-cycle emissions by 50 percent compared to conventional fuels. 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 a catalyst and advocate in both arenas.
Airport environment and growth
The Current Market Outlook projects a doubling of the commercial airplane fleet by 2031. 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 technologies, holds the potential to improve the environment around airports while enabling airports to sustain regional economic growth.