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Jet Zero: Stansted Airport boss Charlie Cornish confirms commitment to carbon net-zero future for UK aviation



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Stansted Airport boss Charlie Cornish has confirmed his commitment to a carbon net-zero future for UK aviation.

The chief executive of MAG (Manchester Airports Group), which operates the Uttlesford hub as well as Manchester and East Midlands airports, joined competitors, airlines, aerospace manufacturers and air service navigation providers in setting out the first set of interim decarbonisation targets that will act as milestones on the path to net-zero aviation by 2050.

The industry is targeting at least an overall 15% reduction in net emissions relative to 2019 by 2030 and a 40% net reduction by 2040. The pace of decarbonisation will ramp up as sustainable aviation fuels, permanent carbon removal and new low- and zero-carbon technologies – such as electric and hydrogen-powered aircraft – become mainstream in the 2030s.

Infographic (48508957)
Infographic (48508957)

These milestones are reflected on a new chart taking account of the effects of Covid-19 on aviation demand and complement a set of voluntary industry pledges to drive down emissions.

The announcement on Tuesday (June 22) also kick-starts detailed work to update the sector's Decarbonisation Road Map, first published in 2020. By the middle of next year, it is expected to demonstrate even faster potential to decarbonise aviation through technology innovation.

Mr Cornish said: "Despite the deeply damaging impact of the pandemic on the sector, our commitment to a greener future stands firm and working collaboratively as an industry on this roadmap means we are united in meeting the targets now ahead of us.

Charlie Cornish, chief executive of Stansted Airport owner Manchester Airports Group
Charlie Cornish, chief executive of Stansted Airport owner Manchester Airports Group

"MAG has long demonstrated its commitment to sustainability and last year we published our new CSR (corporate social responsibility) strategy, where we set our own target for reaching net-zero by 2038 and launched an incentive for our airlines to operate the first emission-free flight from one of our airports.

"By bringing together individual commitments like this, and the collective commitments that we have announced, the aviation industry can move forward together towards net zero."

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "As the first major economy in the world to commit to net-zero by 2050, we are leading the charge to cut aviation emissions through the Jet Zero Council.

"The commitment shown here by industry builds on that work, embodying the forward-thinking attitude we need to decarbonise the sector and put the UK at the forefront of green aviation."

Adam Morton, chairman of Sustainable Aviation, said: "UK aviation led the world last year by being the first national aviation body in the world to commit to net-zero by 2050. We are now raising the bar by committing to additional interim milestones to hold ourselves accountable on this journey to Jet Zero.

"This is ambitious but achievable and requires meaningful co-operation between industry and Government, as well as the necessary policies and funding to ensure the UK can build a world-leading SAF (sustainable aviation fuels) industry, create new clean aircraft and modernise British airspace."



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