Qatar Airways Group CEO HE Akbar Al Baker said the aviation industry will miss its target to achieve net zero status in 2050, describing the airline sector’s emission goals as a “PR exercise”.
Speaking to broadcaster CNN the airline chief executive said: “Let us not fool ourselves. We will not even reach the targets we have for 2030, I assure you. Because there is not enough raw material to get the volumes of sustainable aviation fuel,” (SAF).
In a report, Qatar’s English daily newspaper The Peninsula said the interview took place on Monday during the annual meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), on the day the group announced a roadmap to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Al Baker, one of the longest-serving executives in the airline industry who served as IATA’s chair, said that given the current volumes of SAF being produced, the industry’s targets are unrealistic. He added that the industry is in denial about the rate of progress.
IATA has pledged to boost the use of SAF by 2030, with a goal of becoming net zero in 2050.
In his interview, Al Baker said: “What we are trying to do is for a PR exercise saying that it will happen, and it will be done, it will be achieved – but it won’t be able to be achieved. And the governments will use this to line their pockets by putting on levies.”
Despite his doubt about the industry’s emissions ambitions, Al Baker’s said he remains certain that net zero is attainable. “I’m not saying it can’t be done, but to do it in the 2050 time frame, the industry is far behind,” he said.