Following on from the re-launch of RDC aviation emissions report last month, Chief Exec Peter Hind takes a look a the October report.

Following on from the re-launch of our emissions report last month, this month sees world leaders together at COP26 in Glasgow discussing various ways to reduce carbon emissions across all industry sectors. As an emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2), the aviation industry will continue to be a target for ongoing discussions and negotiations. Last month in Boston, during IATA’s Annual General Meeting & World Air Transport Summit, a key topic of discussion was how to achieve “Fly Net Zero” – a commitment from airlines to achieve net zero carbon by 2050. Currently, according to IATA, the aviation industry is responsible for between 2-3% of global CO2 emissions.

We have now published our latest emissions report (download here) and there are several interesting points worth highlighting:

The total emissions in October are estimated to be approx. 41m tonnes, an increase of 2.4% against last month. This is a direct consequence of the continued easing of travel restrictions across the globe, enabling increasing numbers of people to travel.

One issue highlighted by our report is that, despite being considered a key factor in helping offset CO2 emissions from flying, only 1/3 of all CO2 emissions in October were covered by one of the large compliance or trading schemes such as CORSIA, EU-ETS and UK-ETS. It will be interesting to see how policy-makers choose to deal with domestic emissions, particularly as these will be included in countries’ total emissions inventory and therefore fall under any national CO2 reduction commitments.

When looking at the top 15 nations by total emissions, four of them (China, Russia, India and Brazil) have not yet implemented or signed up to any major compliance scheme. As important emerging economies, these countries all have a growing middle class with an increasing appetite to fly. Their involvement in such a scheme would not only send an important message to the industry, but also have a significant impact in terms of offsetting the carbon emissions from the aviation industry in those countries. Coincidently, the leaders of Russia, China and Brazil have all decided not to attend COP26.

Out of the largest 25 top emitting countries, Greece is the only country to have now exceeded pre-pandemic emission levels – increasing by 8% against 2019. This is due to Greece having one of the most liberal travel policies, allowing tourists into the country with fewer restrictions than some other markets.

This month’s focus country is China. Emissions from flights departing China totalled 6.1Mt of CO2 in October 2021, 6% down on last year and 22% lower than 2019 levels. However, if we look at China’s domestic CO2 emissions in October 2021, the picture is slightly different. Domestic emissions were 6% higher than pre-pandemic (2019) levels, and 5% lower than 2020 levels. This can be explained by the implementation of localised domestic travel restrictions during October due to several outbreaks of COVID cases in different regions within China.

RDC Emissions Report China Focus October 21 Focus market on this month's report: China

To finish off we will look at our CARE Index, a methodology developed by RDC to measure new route and network level of efficiency, allowing consumers and operators to compare the efficiency of the operators/aircraft against another - Novair, IberoJet and Play ranked #1, 2, and 3 globally for operations in October 2021.

Hopefully progress will be made at COP 26 with finance solutions forthcoming to help the industry invest in de-carbonisation. We look forward to sharing next months report with you, follow us on LinkedIn to ensure you are notified when we publish our report next month.

Banner image by Matthias Heyde on Unsplash


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