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Aviation industry records stride at curbing carbon emission

Aviation CEOs converge on Lagos to address changing times in industry

The Nigerian aviation industry, like its global counterparts, faces challenges in terms of sustainability. It is estimated that aviation contributes approximately four percent to human-induced global warming, emitting around 1 billion tons of CO2 annually, which is more than the emissions of many countries.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) predicts that air passenger numbers will double by 2030, leading to increased air pollution and associated health risks.

Recognising the need for change, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is actively seeking solutions to reduce the sector’s impact on climate change. The agency aims to improve environmental and societal impacts through innovative practices while contributing to the national economy. Collaboration with industry stakeholders is a key aspect of achieving the ambitious goal of a 50 percent reduction in net carbon emissions by 2060.

At the National Aviation Conference, held recently in Abuja, Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Musa Nuhu; in his presentation on aviation sustainability said his agency “seeks solutions to improve the societal and environmental impacts of air transportation, reducing the sector’s contribution to climate change through new practices and innovation while increasing the sector’s contribution to the national economy.”

Furthermore, one example of sustainability in the Nigerian aviation industry is Aero Contractors’ acquisition of the Bombardier Q400 aircraft. This aircraft is known for being the quietest in the world, with a noise footprint much smaller than other aircraft.

Similarly, it is fuel-efficient, emitting 30-40 percent fewer emissions compared to other aircraft. The introduction of such eco-friendly aircraft demonstrates the industry’s commitment to sustainability.

After receiving the new aircraft, Abdullahi Mahmood, the Managing Director of Aero Contractors, expressed that Nigerians can anticipate efficient, punctual, and trustworthy services when the airline resumes operations with the second Dash-8Q400 Bombardier.

Mahmood, represented by Daniel Adah, the Head of Aero Contractors’ Security, highlighted the aircraft’s fuel efficiency and emphasised its reliability, saying “The 75-capacity aircraft is expected to contribute to the airline’s dependable performance.

“So, with this, we hope to meet aviation demand in terms of passengers and also cost because we have noticed that cost is actually a concern for a lot of travelling passengers.

“We believe when you operate a fuel-efficient aircraft, you will be able to fly passengers with a reasonable fare, so that is what we are looking at for the passengers,” Adah said.

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Despite the progress made in sustainability in the Nigerian aviation industry, there is still work to be done. The demand for air travel continues to rise, and innovative solutions are needed to address sustainability challenges.

According to an article in Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, “Over the past 50 years global demand for air travel has risen by 9 percent per annum (pa) and growth (at a reduced rate of 3-7 percent) is predicted for the next 20 years.”

Fuel efficiency improvements, elimination of single-use plastics, locally-sourced and seasonal food options, and passenger education are some of the ways in which the industry can reduce its carbon footprint and environmental impact.

In addition to carbon emissions, aircraft also contribute to global warming through non-carbon pollutants such as water vapour, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and soot. These pollutants have a significant impact on global warming. Consequently, the aviation industry is facing increasing pressure to reduce emissions. The industry has made a collective commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

While achieving zero emissions in aviation may be a distant goal, focusing on fuel efficiency, minimizing non-carbon pollutants, and adopting sustainable practices can contribute to a greener and more environmentally responsible aviation industry. By embracing sustainability, the industry can anticipate consumer trends, lead in aviation sustainability, and contribute to a safer planet.