The Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group announced its commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, reinforcing its long-standing strategy of working towards decarbonisation and environmental sustainability across its operations.
The Group’s airlines, Singapore Airlines, Scoot and SIA Cargo, will use multiple levers to achieve this goal. These include investing in new-generation aircraft, achieving higher operational efficiency, adopting low-carbon technology such as sustainable aviation fuels, and sourcing for high quality carbon offsets.
SIA Group has pursued multiple projects in support of its sustainability goals even amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, the Group completed the installation of solar panels on all of its office buildings in Singapore. This generates renewable energy that provides up to 18 per cent of its electricity demand, or enough to power around 2,300 four-room apartments in Singapore for a year.
In 2020, SIA rolled out a new regional Economy Class meal concept that offers increased food choices for customers. It features tableware comprising sustainable paper packaging and bamboo cutlery, reducing the amount of single-use plastics in the cabin. This packaging weighs 50 per cent less, helping to lower fuel consumption. Everything from the tableware to the food waste will be sent to an eco-digestor to be converted to refuse-derived energy pellets that can replace fossil fuels and coal.
Mr Goh Choon Phong, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Airlines, said: “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.
“Today, the most effective and direct way for an airline to materially lower carbon emissions is by operating a young fleet of aircraft. The SIA Group’s fleet has an average age of under six years, making it one of the youngest in the world. Over the last year, we have retired 45 older aircraft. We will be gradually replacing them with new-generation aircraft that are up to 30 per cent more fuel efficient, and will substantially lower our emissions in coming years.
“However, we can’t achieve our goals on our own. We will continue to collaborate with governments, the airline industry, and partners such as aircraft manufacturers, technology providers, and fuel suppliers, both in Singapore and around the world. We must work together to push the envelope, and find innovative solutions that help us meet our targets on this journey.”
How the SIA Group aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050
The SIA Group’s aircraft fleet has an average age of five years 10 months, and it continues to invest in the latest technology. The Group’s order book comprises new-generation models such as Airbus’ A350-900 and A320neo Family and Boeing’s 777-9, 787 Family and 737-8 Max. These aircraft are up to 30 per cent more fuel-efficient and have reduced carbon emissions compared to older models.
There is also a relentless focus on increasing fuel efficiency through improvements in operational procedures. For example, the SIA Group has invested in engineering improvement packages for airframes and engines which help to reduce drag and improve engine efficiency. The Group’s airlines continuously aim to improve fuel productivity through initiatives such as reducing fuel usage through aircraft weight management, and optimisation of flight routes. 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.
Singapore Airlines has been an active member of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG) since 2011. In 2017, SIA launched a series of green package flights from San Francisco to Singapore that incorporated sustainable aviation fuels, fuel-efficient aircraft and optimised air traffic management measures. In 2020, SIA worked with Stockholm’s Swedavia Airport to uplift sustainable aviation fuels on flights departing from the city. These activities have helped to improve the Group’s understanding of the logistics and procurement of renewable fuels. SIA is actively working with partners and stakeholders to explore opportunities to scale up the adoption of sustainable aviation fuels across our network.
Beyond reducing direct emissions, carbon offsetting can play an important and complementary role. The SIA Group is a participant in the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), which seeks to cap the industry’s growth in carbon emissions from 2020. While offsetting is particularly important in the mid-term, it is also expected to remain relevant in the long run to mitigate residual emissions. In order to secure high quality carbon offsets, the Group will continue exploring pathways through partnership that will allow us to source high quality carbon offsets.
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. This includes working together with stakeholders in Singapore to develop a holistic decarbonisation plan, which complements Singapore’s goal of strengthening the country’s air hub and maintaining its competitive advantage into the future.