First I thought about the biggest challenge that fossil fuel-based industries are facing: energy transition and decarbonization. Whether the world runs out of oil and coal, or the climate change related issues have a dramatic impact on the world, industries must find and implement carbon-free sources of energy. Transport represents 16% of global CO2 emissions, roughly split as 12% for road, 2% for maritime and 2% for air – and solutions for road like batteries are not applicable for long-haul flights, which means aviation must find its own way.
At the same time, various regions in the world have different perspectives on the timeline for decarbonization. On one side, Europe has a mature transport infrastructure and has reduced CO2 emissions over the past 50 years – governments begin to ban domestic flights or reduce air traffic volumes. On the other side, developing economies are building their own infrastructure, buying hundreds of aircraft and building new airports – air transport remains a mode of transport with a cost effective infrastructure in regions where building roads and railways is expensive (mountains, lakes, forests…).
Finally I looked at the latest traffic volumes, load factors and airline profits. The air travel industry has bounced back to 2019 levels, but it will take years to compensate for the losses of the past three years. While the travel experience has become more digital, like the rest of our lives, video conferences have not replaced business travel or tourism. We may live or meet in the metaverse one day, but not today.
It is the time to gather and build together a sustainable mode of transport that the next generations can enjoy. And there are a few reasons to celebrate as we are heading into the right direction. See you next week ☀️