February 29, 2024
Aviation Sustainability

Oneworld Alliance is the first global airline coalition to join IATA CO2 Connect

The platform calculates aviation sector CO2 emissions

Denoting a pivotal move towards sustainability and transparency, Oneworld Alliance – the premier global airline coalition – has become the inaugural participant from the aviation industry to join the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) CO2 Connect initiative.

This new collaboration will enhance the accuracy and reliability of CO2 emission calculations within the aviation sector.

All 13 member airlines of Oneworld have committed to contributing essential operational data to IATA’s CO2 Connect emissions calculator.

This joint effort aims to significantly augment the percentage of airline-specific fuel burn data used by the calculator, thereby ensuring a more precise assessment of carbon footprints.

The participants

The participating oneworld members include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Qantas, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, and SriLankan Airlines.

Marie Owens Thomsen, Senior Vice President of Sustainability and Chief Economist at IATA, expressed enthusiasm about Oneworld’s decision, emphasising its role in advancing the industry’s goal of providing consistency and alignment in CO2 emissions.

She said: “Travellers’ want to make informed choices regarding their CO2 footprint, and IATA CO2 Connect sets out to provide CO2 emission calculations based on operational data.”

Grace Cheung, Chair of Oneworld’s Environmental and Sustainability Board and General Manager of Sustainability at Cathay Pacific, highlighted the alliance’s pride in being the pioneer in supporting IATA’s efforts.

Oneworld Alliance overview. Source: Oneworld Alliance

She noted: “Our collaboration with IATA on CO2 Connect will help key players across the aviation sector to make better and more informed choices for travellers and enhanced ESG reporting.”

Leveraging data

IATA introduced CO2 Connect in June 2022, aiming to leverage member airline data, including fuel burn, belly cargo, and load factors, to offer accurate per-flight passenger CO2 emission calculations.

Currently covering 74 aircraft types, representing approximately 98% of the active global passenger fleet, the tool incorporates traffic data from 881 aircraft operators, constituting around 93% of global air travel.

The CO2 Connect data calculations are accessible to industry partners through an API or flat file, as well as via airline sales channels and travel management companies. The initiative continues to evolve as a response to the growing demand for environmental consciousness in travel, recently launching a corporate reporting solution and planning to introduce CO2 compensation solutions in the coming year.

Additionally, a cargo calculator will be launched in 2024 to meet the demands from shippers and freight forwarders for accurate CO2 emissions data derived from actual airline data.

A recent opinion poll revealed that 90% of travellers feel a responsibility to know about the carbon emissions of their flights, but only 40% do so. The majority (90%) expect airlines or travel agents to provide them with this information, underscoring the reliance on the industry to inform passengers about the carbon impact of their flights proactively.

IATA CO2 Connect employs the Passenger CO2 Calculation Methodology (RP 1726), aligned with the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).

This methodology, developed in collaboration with leading partners from 20 airlines, major aircraft manufacturers, and international standard-setting bodies, includes guidance on fuel measurement, CO2 emissions calculation scope, non-CO2 related emissions, Radiative Forcing Index (RFI), weight-based calculation principles, passenger weight considerations, emissions factor for jet fuel consumption, cabin class weighting, and guidance on carbon offsets and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

IATA, representing around 320 airlines comprising 83% of global air traffic, is central in steering the aviation industry towards sustainability.

Meanwhile, oneworld remains committed to delivering a superior and seamless travel experience while embracing sustainability initiatives.

Featured image: Qatar Airways is a member of Oneworld Alliance. Image: Oneworld Alliance

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto is an award-winning journalist with wide-ranging Middle East and Asia experience in the tech, space, aerospace, aviation, defence, luxury watchmaking, business, fashion, and automotive verticals. He is passionate about conserving endangered native wildlife globally and protecting the world’s oceans from plastic pollution, overfishing, and climate change. Arnold enjoys 4x4 off-roading, camping and exploring global destinations off the beaten track.
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