MIAMI – The Cathay Pacific Group (CX) has set an ambitious objective for 2050: to be the first Asian airline to achieve zero-carbon emissions. CX is the first airline in Asia to establish a timeline to achieve such a goal.

Cathay Pacific is taking a responsible stand on the matter, leading the movement in Asia towards sustainable aviation even when the air transport industry has, during pre-pandemic times, contributed less than 3% of the global man-made CO2 emissions. Regardless, using Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), carbon offsetting, and reducing emissions are the ways to achieving greener aviation and ensuring that future generations will experience the joy of eco-friendly travel.

“Climate change, potentially a much more disruptive crisis, calls for ramped-up efforts.” Augustus Tang, CX CEO Click To Tweet

Cathay Pacific CEO, Augustus Tang, said, “The unprecedented pandemic has shaken the world and showed us that “business as usual” is not an option when dealing with an imminent global risk.”

Tang continued commenting on the subject by adding, “Our net-zero pledge aligns with the requirements laid out in the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Paris Agreement, and provides the focus we need in aligning our strategy – from fleet planning and carbon offsetting to further investment in Sustainable Aviation Fuel and the development of new technologies.”

Cathay Pacific Airbus 350-900 B-LRD – Photo : Max Langley/Airways

Cathay Pacific Zero-Carbon Emission Actions

Investing in Sustainable Aviation Fuel: The Group is increasing its use of SAF, with the aim of making it viable for mainstream adoption.

Compared to traditional jet fuel, SAF can reduce lifecycle carbon emissions by up to 80%. In 2014, CX became the first airline to invest in Fulcrum BioEnergy, a pioneer in converting everyday household waste into SAF. The Group says it has committed to purchasing 1.1 million tonnes of SAF over 10 years, which will cover around 2% of its total fuel requirements from 2023 onwards.

Offsetting carbon emissions: CX’s carbon offset program, Fly Greener, gives passengers the opportunity to purchase offsets based on the CO2 emissions generated from their flight. These contributions go directly towards Gold Standard-accredited third-party projects that actively reduce emissions.

The carrier has also been offsetting all the emissions from its employees’ business travel since the launch of the program in 2007. To date, the program has offset over 300,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

Reducing emissions through efficiency enhancement: The Group is constantly working to reduce aircraft emissions, such as by upgrading to a new fuel-efficient fleet and reducing engine use on the ground. The Group is also committed to cutting its ground emissions by 32% from the 2018 baseline before the end of 2030.

Cathay Pacific’s commitments for greener aviation are fully described in the airline’s 2020 Sustainable Development Report.

Featured image: Cathay Pacific Airbus 350-1000 B-LXB. Photo: Ervin Eslami/Airways