18 April, 2023

MAG welcomes clear path to net zero air travel provided by new decarbonisation Road-Map

UK’s largest group of airports welcomes updated Road-Map to accelerate use of decarbonisation technologies

MAG remains committed to driving work to ensure airport infrastructure can facilitate wide-spread use of zero emission fuels

Group also welcomes Philip New’s report on SAF and the Jet Zero Council’s 2-year plan


Manchester Airports Group (MAG) welcomed yesterday’s publication of a new decarbonisation Road-Map by industry coalition Sustainable Aviation (SA).

The new Road-Map reflects the advancements made in decarbonisation technologies in the UK, which will allow the aviation industry to continue to move at pace towards its collective target of net zero by 2050.

MAG, which owns and operates Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands Airports, will continue to play an important role in the facilitating the use of new low and zero carbon aviation technologies.

MAG is a member of the Government’s Jet Zero Council as well as its Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs) and Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure sub-groups. This means it has a front row seat helping to shape how UK airports can prepare for and introduce new technologies, including Sustainable Aviation Fuels and Hydrogen technology.

The Group has already taken significant steps in its work to secure new technologies at its airports. Manchester Airport has announced partnerships on both SAF and hydrogen. In October 2021, it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Fulcrum Bioenergy UK which aims to make Manchester Airport the first airport in the UK to have a direct supply of SAF by the mid-2020s, and in November 2022 signed a partnership with HyNet which set out plans to become the first airport with a pipeline of hydrogen fuel by the mid 2030s.

MAG CEO, Charlie Cornish, said:  “This updated Decarbonisation Road-Map demonstrates the commitment of the UK aviation industry to delivering a more sustainable future, and gives confidence to the travelling public that we are collectively accelerating towards net zero by 2050.  

 “The Road-Map highlights the progress we are making with decarbonisation technologies to ensure that the wide-ranging benefits of international travel can continue to be felt for generations to come, without carbon emissions.

 “As an airport operator, MAG is focused on supporting the development of sustainable aviation fuels, zero emission flight infrastructure and the transformation of the airspace surrounding our airports - to ensure our collective target for net zero is achieved.

 “Sustainable Aviation continues to play a critical role in driving forward the decarbonisation of our sector, and as a founding member MAG supports the call for increased support from the UK Government to aid the scale up of decarbonisation technologies.”

Alongside new technologies, MAG is making significant progress in the transformation of the airspace surrounding its airports – where London Stansted was announced as the first ‘very large’ UK airport to pass the Stage 2 Gateway, with Manchester Airport having also passed the same milestone recently.

In 2016, MAG became the first carbon neutral airport group in the UK, first making its operations at East Midlands Airport – where MAG has installed the UK’s only on-airport commercial scale wind turbines – carbon neutral in 2012.  MAG has reduced its own emissions by 89% since 2007, committing to remove remaining emissions and achieve net zero operations by 2038 as part of its 2020 Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy ‘Working together for a brighter future’. 

The Road-Map was announced at the Sustainable Skies Summit at Farnborough, where the latest Jet Zero Council Meeting was also held, with representatives from across industry and Government in attendance.

The new document sets out how the UK has become a global leader in sustainable aviation technology but warns this opportunity could be at risk without Government support. It also quantifies the scale of the task ahead to achieve net zero, and in an industry first has modelled CO2 emission reduction against the increased cost impact of decarbonisation.

The UK’s largest group of airports was a founding member of SA in 2005, and acted as its Chair when its first Road-Map was published in early 2020. MAG continues to play a central role in SA activities, as it continues to drive forward the industry’s aim for a cleaner future. To ensure this future becomes a reality, MAG supports the Road-Map’s call for greater levels of Government support in bringing decarbonisation technologies into use on a large scale.

MAG also welcomes the publication of Philip New’s independent report, ‘Developing a UK SAF industry’, which considers how best to support a domestic SAF production sector in the UK. The report looks at several key topics including the importance of a price stability mechanism for SAF and the major role that feedstocks will play in the aviation industry’s ability to use SAF on a large scale.

Yesterday also marked the publication Jet Zero Council’s ‘2-year plan’, and an announcement from the Department for Transport committing 12 months of funding for the Aerospace Technology Institute to accelerate the research and development of liquid hydrogen aviation technology.

In combination, these findings and commitments work to strengthen the UK’s position as a leader in aviation decarbonisation, as set out by the SA Decarbonisation Road-Map. MAG remains committed to working closely with the Government and industry partners to drive progress in delivering what is needed to ensure the UK’s potential is realised.
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