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A Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 departs on its inaugural flight. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Bailey)

Singapore Airlines Pledging Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050

Joining the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in its ongoing commitments to reducing the aviation industry’s carbon emissions, the Singapore Airlines Group – consisting of national carrier Singapore Airlines, budget airline Scoot and Singapore Airlines Cargo – announced on Monday in a press release that it has pledged to achieving net zero carbon emissions by the year 2050.

The pledge comes as numerous other airlines, such as LATAM, VistaJet and Viva Aerobus, commit to cutting emissions in addition to increasing backlash over aviation’s detrimental, and sometimes deemed “unnecessary,” environmental impact.

In the announcement, the group states that it is reinforcing its long-standing strategy of moving towards decarbonization and environmental sustainability across all its operations. The various subsidiaries will use various levers to achieve the pledged goal, including investments in new-generation aircraft such as the fuel-efficient Airbus A350s and Boeing 777-9s.

Ultra-Efficient Aircraft

The Group’s Airbus order book has a list of future orders for Airbus A350-900s and A320neo family aircraft. As for its Boeing order book, there are orders for the latest Boeing 777-9s, the 787 family and the 737-8 MAX. These aircraft are almost 30 percent more fuel-efficient and have reduced carbon emissions as compared to older models of aircraft.

Currently, Singapore Airlines is the world’s largest operator for the Airbus A350s, overtaking Qatar Airways after recent April deliveries brought the fleet total t0o 55 aircraft, featuring all three variants of the aircraft. The aircraft type now marks up almost half of the airline’s registered fleet and represents more than half of the operating fleet as of March 2021.

Chief Executive Officer Goh Choon Phong said that the most effective way for an airline to lower carbon emissions is to operate a relatively young fleet of aircraft, and the SIA Group already holds one of the youngest fleets in the world, with an average age of less than six years, per Statista.

Sustainable Energy and Packaging

Singapore Airlines also aims to adopt low-carbon technology such as sustainable aviation fuels and sourcing for higher quality carbon offsets. Even amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Group has successfully completed the installation of 20,000 solar panels on all of its office buildings in Singapore, allowing for renewable energy to be generated and provided for up to 18% of its electricity demand.

Additionally, back in 2020, Singapore Airlines rolled out a new on-board meal concept that offered increased food choices for passengers, reducing the likelihood of food wastage. The featured tableware was compromised of sustainable packaging and cutlery, which helped to reduce the amount of plastics and the overall fuel consumption, as the new packaging weighed up to 50% less.

To reduce paper waste and reduce the take-off weight, the airline has also stopped offering physical newspapers and magazines onboard its flight, instead opting to provide them to passengers via an “e-library” on its mobile application. Scoot moved all physical in-flight menus, shopping catalogues and magazines to an in-flight portal in December 2020.

Once a flight is completed, all waste will be sent to an eco-digester to be converted to refuse-derived energy pellets that can be used to replace limited fossil fuels and coals, ensuring the the Group is one step ahead in finding sustainable energy for the future.

“We have remained focused on our sustainability goals even as we navigated the Covid-19 pandemic. We know that this is also an increasingly important issue to both our customers and staff. With today’s pledge to achieve net-zero emissions, we buttress the SIA Group’s leadership position on this topic and reinforce our commitment to finding ways to tackle our impact on the environment,” Goh said in a statement.

Sustainable Fuel Sources

National carrier Singapore Airlines has also been an active and participating member of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG) since 2011, and in 2017, it launched a series of green package flights from San Fransisco to Singapore using sustainable aviation fuels, fuel-efficient aircraft and optimized air traffic management measures.

The airline has further worked with several partners and stakeholders – such as Stockholm’s Swedavia Airport – in continuous efforts to actively seek and invest in innovative ideas to further scale up the use of sustainable aviation fuel and increase fuel efficiency for flight operations.

“Innovations in technology and data analytics will also pave the way for more significant improvements, and the Group will continue to engage research institutions to explore such ideas,” the Group said.

The SIA Group also participates in the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Carbon Offsetting Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), which aims to cap the aviation industry’ growth of carbon emissions in the industry from 2020. Although the main goal is offsetting carbon emissions, there is also a long-term goal to mitigate any residual emissions.

“As the SIA Group embarks on this journey towards net zero emissions by 2050, it will continue to collaborate with like-minded partners to develop a robust sustainable aviation fuel supply chain and carbon market,” Singapore Airlines Group said in its statement.

“This includes working together with stakeholders in Singapore to develop a holistic decarbonization plan, which complements Singapore’s goal of strengthening the country’s air hub and maintaining its competitive advantage into the future,” the statement continued.

Goh has also further reinforced that they will “continue to collaborate with government, the airline industry, and partners such as aircraft manufacturers, technology providers, and fuel suppliers, both in Singapore and around the world” in their efforts to continue flying without devaluing the environment.

Author

  • Fascinated by aircraft from a very young age, Charlotte’s dream was to work alongside the big birds one day. Pursuing her dream, she went on to achieve her diploma in Aviation Management and is currently working on her degree in Aviation Business in Administration with a minor in Air Traffic Management. When she’s not busy with school assignments, you can find her aircraft spotting for long hours at the airport. In Charlotte’s heart, the Queen of the Skies will always be her favorite aircraft.

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