– Dubai’s commitment to sustainability in the aviation sector has been guided by the long-range vision of its leadership.
– The Dubai Airshow, which will be held from November 13 to 17, 2023, will showcase solutions and strategies to achieve net zero emissions in the aviation industry.
– Dubai has taken the lead in establishing collaborations that promote the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)
– Emirates is at the global forefront of adopting sustainable aviation with innovative SAF test flights and a $200 million research and development fund.
– Dubai airports continue to invest in energy efficiency, green transportation and excellence in waste management.
– Dubai Aerospace Enterprise achieves impressive score of 14.4 in recent ESG risk rating review

In recent years, Dubai has become a global leader in championing sustainability within the aviation industry. With a determined commitment to mitigating its carbon footprint and shaping a more environmentally conscious future for the sector, the emirate has become a pioneer in the pursuit of sustainable aviation solutions.

The Dubai Airshow, one of the world’s leading aerospace events, is a testament to this dedication, providing a platform for innovation, collaboration and the exchange of ideas towards a more sustainable future for aviation. The 2023 edition of the Dubai Airshow, which will be held from 13 to 17 November 2023 at Dubai World Central (DWC), will highlight sustainability as a key theme.

Against the backdrop of the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), which begins in Dubai at the end of November, the Dubai Airshow is a showcase of the latest sustainable solutions from industry leaders. Under the theme “The Future of Aerospace”, the Dubai Airshow will feature conferences dedicated to sustainability, including topics such as hydrogen-powered aviation, SAF, COP28 forecasts, efficient engines, and hybrid and electric aircraft. Leading industry experts will gather to discuss pressing sustainability challenges and opportunities.

Addressing the carbon challenge in aviation

The aviation industry faces a critical challenge related to carbon emissions. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, Dubai has been at the forefront of pioneering initiatives to address these issues.

Dubai’s commitment to sustainability in the sector is guided by its leadership’s long-range vision for a more environmentally conscious future. As it strives to achieve the goal outlined in Dubai’s Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and Net Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy 2050 of generating 100% of the emirate’s total energy production from clean energy sources by mid- century, the emirate has continued to grow its role as a global leader in shaping the future of sustainable aviation.

SAF: a turning point
The adoption of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is a key driver of sustainability in the aviation industry. It is currently the optimal solution for airlines to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% compared to traditional aviation fossil fuels. The industry is working to increase SAF production capacity, aiming to reach more than 30 billion liters in 2030 and 450 billion liters in 2050. However, the supply of this fuel is extremely limited at the moment. . Estimates from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) indicate that global supply only met 0.1%-0.15% of total aviation fuel demand in 2022.

Dubai has taken the lead in establishing collaborations that drive the use of SAF. Emirates Airline, the world’s largest operator of wide-body aircraft, has successfully conducted demonstration flights powered by SAF and has pledged substantial funding for the research and development of advanced fuel technologies aimed at reducing environmental impact.

The airline’s first flight powered by a blend of traditional and sustainable jet fuel took off from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport to Dubai in November 2017, using a Boeing 777 aircraft. Since then, the airline has increased its use of sustainable fuel on flights departing from Stockholm and has expanded its operations to include flights from Paris, Lyon and Oslo using combined SAF. In December 2020, Emirates took delivery of the first of three Airbus A380 aircraft powered by a blend of sustainable and conventional jet fuel.

As part of its commitment to meet supply requirements in Norway, Sweden and France, Emirates provides sustainable fuel to support its operations in these markets. The airline is looking for opportunities to use SAF at more airports in the future.

In January 2023, in a historic achievement, Emirates operated its first demonstration flight on a Boeing 777-300ER, powering one of its engines with 100% SAF. The initiative aimed to drive progress towards the use of 100% SAF in the future. According to its March 2023 financial report, Emirates used 179 tonnes of SAF in the 2022-2023 financial year.

SAF Key Collaborations
In the first week of October, Emirates Airline forged an important partnership with Shell Aviation to further accelerate the adoption of sustainable aviation fuel. Under the agreement, Shell would supply Emirates with 315,000 gallons of blended sustainable aviation fuel for use at its Dubai hub. This is the first time SAF has been supplied to Dubai International’s (DXB) bunkering system.

The airline has also agreed with Neste to supply sustainable aviation fuel for departures from Amsterdam and Singapore in 2024 and 2025. Emirates will operate its first test flight with an Airbus A380 using 100% sustainable fuel in one of its four engines, further contributing to industry progress in this area at the end of November.

In another significant move, Emirates Airlines launched a landmark $200 million Aviation Sustainability Research and Development Fund, a testament to its commitment to sustainable innovation. Announced in May, the fund is set to finance a series of research and development projects dedicated to promoting innovation in fuel technology.

Emirates is involved in a number of industry and government working groups in the UAE and is making efforts to expand sustainable fuel production and supply. Last year, in collaboration with the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority, the airline contributed to the development of a roadmap for power-to-liquids (PtL), a new alternative fuel production route from energy sources renewables, water and carbon dioxide in the country. led by the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure and the World Economic Forum. It also participated in the national roadmap for sustainable aviation fuel in the UAE, launched by the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure and the UAE General Authority of Civil Aviation in January 2023.

Another Dubai airline, Flydubai, is also exploring the use of SAF to reduce its environmental footprint. The airline seeks to increase collaboration with the government to make this possible.

Sustainable airport operations
Another key player that has made significant progress in catalysing sustainability in the aviation industry is Dubai Airports, the operator of DXB, the world’s largest airport for international passenger traffic, and Dubai World Central (DWC). The airport operator has earned several recognitions for its sustainability initiatives, including the prestigious award for Best Aviation Sustainability Program at the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Global Aviation Awards.

Dubai Airports has replaced 150,000 traditional lights with LEDs at DXB, reducing energy use and carbon emissions, and introduced eco-friendly ground service vehicles. A solar array at DXB Terminal 2, the largest of any Middle East airport, highlights its commitment to renewable energy.

As part of its commitment to environmental sustainability, Dubai Airports has also initiated an ambitious waste management plan to divert 60% of DXB waste from landfills, using innovative food waste treatment to compost more than 2,000 tons per year, thus reducing landfill waste and harmful emissions.

Meanwhile, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), a global aviation services company, continues to demonstrate its commitment to environmental, social and governance (ESG) responsibility through its recent ESG risk rating review by Morningstar Sustainalytics.

By achieving an impressive score of 14.4, DAE has maintained its leadership in sustainability practices among its industry peers. In a move towards greater transparency and disclosure, DAE has also made significant progress by providing inaugural voluntary disclosures through platforms such as CDP and S&P Corporate Sustainability Assessment.

Dubai’s commitment to sustainability in the aviation industry serves as a ray of hope for the future of the sector. As global aviation strives to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, Dubai is demonstrating that collaboration, innovation and the relentless pursuit of green solutions are the keys to success. Dubai Airshow 2023 promises to be a landmark event, where global aviation leaders will come together to shape a more sustainable future for air travel, setting an example for the industry.