The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the oneworld Alliance have joined forces to enhance CO2 emission calculations. All 13 member airlines of oneworld have pledged to contribute operational data to IATA’s CO2 Connect emissions calculator.
This collaboration aims to enhance the accuracy and reliability of the tool by significantly increasing the percentage of airline-specific fuel burn data used. The following one world member airlines will be providing their data: 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. This concerted effort will significantly improve the quality of CO2 emission calculations.
IATA Senior Vice President, Sustainability and Chief Economist, Marie Owens Thomsen said: “Travelers want to make informed choices regarding their CO2 footprint, and IATA CO2 Connect set out to provide CO2 emission calculations based on operational data. We are delighted that oneworld will become the first airline alliance to join this initiative, bringing in its 13 member airlines as data contributors. Their decision underscores the importance of the industry’s objective of providing consistency and alignment in this field.”
oneworld Environmental and Sustainability Board Chair and General Manager Sustainability, Cathay Pacific, Grace Cheung said: “oneworld is proud to be the first global airline alliance to support IATA’s work to provide customers with high-quality estimates of the CO2 emissions of their flights. Our collaboration with IATA on CO2 Connect will in turn help key players across the aviation sector, including airlines, aircraft manufacturers and travel management companies among others, to make better and more informed choices for travelers and enhanced ESG reporting.”
How IATA CO2 Connect Works
In June 2022, IATA introduced a new initiative called CO2 Connect, which aims to calculate CO2 emissions for individual flights accurately. Using data from member airlines, such as fuel consumption, cargo load, and passenger numbers, CO2 Connect can calculate emissions for various aircraft types. This covers approximately 98% of the global passenger fleet, representing a significant portion of air travel.
The data generated by IATA’s CO2 Connect system is available to industry partners through an API or flat file, as well as through airline sales channels and travel management companies. This enables airlines and other stakeholders to access this information and provide it to passengers, meeting the increasing demand for transparency regarding the environmental impact of air travel.
Travelers Expect Airlines To Inform Them On Emissions
A recent opinion poll highlighted the growing concern among travelers regarding carbon emissions. Surprisingly, 90% of respondents expressed a sense of responsibility to be aware of the emissions associated with their flights. However, only 40% of them take steps to find this information. Although tools for estimating carbon emissions are readily available, most travelers (90%) expect airlines or travel agents to provide this information proactively.
IATA’s CO2 Connect is a dynamic platform that will continue to evolve and offer new features. Recently, it launched a corporate reporting solution to facilitate accurately reporting CO2 emissions from business travel. Soon, the platform will also introduce CO2 compensation solutions, supporting airlines and other industry partners in mitigating their carbon footprint. Additionally, there are plans to develop a Cargo calculator, scheduled for release in 2024, enabling shippers and freight forwarders to access accurate CO2 emissions data from airlines.
With CO2 Connect, IATA is taking a proactive approach to address the demand for greater transparency and environmental responsibility within the aviation industry. This initiative empowers passengers with vital information and encourages airlines and other stakeholders to participate actively in sustainability efforts.
IATA CO2 Connect Passenger CO2 Calculation Methodology
IATA CO2 Connect utilizes the Passenger CO2 Calculation Methodology (RP 1726) adopted by IATA’s Passenger Service Conference in March 2022. This methodology was developed with 20 leading airlines, major aircraft manufacturers, international standard-setting bodies, and logistics services providers. It takes into account various factors to calculate CO2 emissions from passenger travel, including:
- Clear guidance on fuel measurement, in line with the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).
- Well-defined scope for calculating CO2 emissions related to airlines’ flying activities.
- Guidelines on accounting for non-CO2 emissions and understanding the Radiative Forcing Index (RFI).
- Weight-based calculation principle for allocating CO2 emissions between passenger and belly cargo.
- Detailed instructions on passenger weight calculations, considering both actual and standard weight.
- Emissions factor for accurately converting jet fuel consumption into CO2, fully compliant with CORSIA.
- Cabin class weighting and multipliers that account for different cabin configurations of airlines.
- Instructions on carbon offsets and the role of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) as part of the CO2 calculation.
By following these guidelines, airlines can effectively measure their fuel usage, calculate CO2 emissions, and actively contribute to reducing the environmental impact of aviation.