During the first World Sustainability Symposium held on 3-4 October 2023 in Madrid, Spain, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) signed new sustainability data-sharing agreements with Aerolineas Argentinas, Air Baltic, LATAM Airlines Group, Luxair, and Nile Air. These agreements will add more airlines and airline groups as data contributors to IATA’s CO2 Connect emissions calculator, enhancing the tool’s quality and accuracy.
“Accessing the most accurate operational data is key to achieving global consistency and alignment in CO2 emissions calculations. Expanding this data pool is essential in providing greater transparency and coherence to passengers and stakeholders alike. This allows for more informed CO2 compensation choices while supporting ESG reporting. In continuously expanding our data sources, we will further enhance IATA CO2 Connect’s calculation quality, far beyond what any theory-based or model-based tools can achieve,” said Frederic Leger, IATA’s Senior Vice President of Commercial Products and Services.
Calculating Per-passenger CO2 Emissions
In June 2022, IATA launched CO2 Connect to calculate CO2 emissions per passenger accurately. To achieve this, CO2 Connect integrates actual operational data from around 150 airlines. Sustainability data includes fuel burn, belly cargo, and load factors. This data and other reliable sources allow IATA to calculate fuel burn data for 74 aircraft types, representing approximately 98% of the active global passenger fleet. In addition, CO2 Connect considers traffic data from 881 aircraft operators, which covers approximately 93% of global air travel. Unlike other CO2 calculators that rely on theoretical models and make more assumptions in their calculations, CO2 Connect stands out by using real airline data.
To ensure consistent and accurate passenger CO2 emissions data across sales channels and travel management companies, IATA has partnered with companies like ATPCO and Amex GBT to distribute the CO2 data calculations. Moreover, IATA is developing a customizable microsite solution exclusively for airlines. This solution, powered by CO2 Connect, will include a compensation feature, allowing environmentally-conscious customers to offset their carbon footprint. The evolution of CO2 Connect will bring additional features and improvements to enhance its functionality further.
IATA CO2 Airline Sustainability Data Methodology
IATA CO2 Connect uses the Passenger CO2 Calculation Methodology (RP 1726), adopted by IATA’s Passenger Service Conference in March 2022. Leading partners from 20 airlines and major aircraft manufacturers supported its development in consultation with international standard-setting bodies and logistics services providers. The methodology takes into account various factors, such as:
- Guidance on fuel measurement, aligned with the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).
- Clearly defined scope to calculate CO2 emissions related to airlines’ flying activities.
- Guidance on non-CO2 related emissions and Radiative Forcing Index (RFI)
- Weight-based calculation principle: allocation of CO2 emission between passenger and belly cargo.
- Guidance on passenger weight, using actual and standard weight
- Emissions factor for conversion of jet fuel consumption to CO2, fully aligned with CORSIA.
- Cabin class weighting and multipliers to reflect different cabin configurations of airlines.
- Guidance on carbon offsets and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) as part of the CO2 calculation.