Aviation is crucial to our goal of making the travel industry more sustainable. We are working together to:
Aviation, responsible for 2.9% of global CO2 emissions, is one of the most challenging sectors in which to reduce carbon emissions. In addition, other emissions such as condensation trails, or contrails, are thought to account for around half of aviation’s contribution to global warming.
Reducing emissions is a significant challenge for a number of reasons, including the long life cycles of aircraft fleets, slow-to-adapt policy environments, and the high cost and low supply of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). And unlike road transport, where there have been significant advancements in technology, much of the industry’s net zero targets rely on technology – such as direct air carbon capture, electric and hydrogen aircraft – that is still in development stage.
We need to act now. Without rapid systematic change, there is a serious risk that decarbonisation targets will be missed; aviation, and tourism as a whole, could become unviable industries.
It’s complicated. Achieving decarbonisation in the aviation sector requires everything from increased investment and government/corporate policy change, to rapid technological innovation and consumer action.
That final piece of the puzzle – consumer action – has huge, untapped potential.
We know from recent research that consumers want more sustainable travel options. According to Trip.com’s 2022 sustainable travel report, 78.7% of respondents agree that sustainable travel is vital, while 74.9% are likely to book sustainable travel in the future.
Another report by Booking.com also highlighted that 40% of respondents actively look for sustainability information when booking transportation for their trips, while over half (51%) deemed lower-to-no CO2 emissions through their transportation choice a key part of what constitutes sustainable travel.
But consumers often feel powerless, thinking their choice is either to feel guilty or to not fly at all. According to research by Skyscanner, almost a quarter (23%) of respondents said they don’t know how to travel more sustainably, with one in five (21%) citing a lack of easily accessible information as a barrier.
Indeed, efforts to calculate and collate emissions information for consumers have been staggered and confused, making it hard for travellers to make informed decisions.
We bring together travel brands in a non-competitive environment to leverage and share collective insights. The end game is to provide consumers with clear, consistent and easy-to-understand information about their travel choices, empowering them to choose flights with lower emissions.
This, in turn, fuels a change in mass consumer behaviour.
Our Aviation Working Group collaborates to provide consumers with the same emissions data when they search for flights, no matter what platform they are using.
Members of the group are contributing data, resources and expertise in the joint interest of aligning fully behind a single model for flight emissions reporting. The working group is led by Google and Skyscanner, who are now showing consumers the same information across both platforms. At the beginning of 2023, Booking.com also confirmed adoption of the model as a member of the working group.
This model is continuously being developed and improved to be more accurate. Currently, factors taken into account in the model are:
Over time, we will work towards expanding this model beyond CO2 emissions, reaching a scientific consensus that allows our partners to calculate the wider warming effects of flights.
You can find out more about the methodology and general principles of the model for emissions reporting here.
Please get in touch if you’d like to join the coalition or adopt our aviation framework. All our data is free and available via a number of different access methods dependent upon your technology requirements.
When consumers search for a flight, they see the following across both Google, Skyscanner, and Booking.com:
At this stage of the work the underlying model and calculations are the same across platforms, but how the individual partner chooses to implement and display those results (whether by a flag, numbers only, or other) is determined by that partner.
We work with a group of academics and sector experts, who provide neutral guidance and oversight of the models to ensure that our work is robust, credible and maintains focus on the goal of bringing this information to consumers, at scale.
This is an important first step, but there is much more we need to do. In the long term, our aviation work will: