Cathay Pacific Sets New Carbon Intensity Goal, Relies on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and Carbon Offsetting

Cathay Pacific has set forth a carbon intensity reduction target for the year 2030, aligned with its overarching objective to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The airline has articulated a specific aim to decrease its carbon intensity from 761 grams of CO2 per revenue tonne kilometre (RTK) to 670 grams of CO2 per RTK, an approximate 12% reduction from the levels recorded in 2019.

Cathay Pacific plans to integrate over 70 new aircraft into its fleet to facilitate this reduction, which are projected to offer up to 25% greater fuel efficiency compared to current models. The transition to these newer aircraft is a crucial element in the strategy to enhance operational carbon efficiency.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) has been identified as a key lever in achieving both the near-term and long-term emissions targets. As part of its strategy to increase SAF usage, Cathay Pacific has committed to utilising SAF to counterbalance 10% of the carbon emissions from employee duty travel starting in 2024. This commitment expands upon the airline’s existing carbon offsetting program for employee duty travel, known as Fly Greener.

Ronald Lam, the Chief Executive Officer of Cathay Pacific, communicated the airline’s determination to continue improving its climate performance by focusing on SAF utilization, fleet modernization, and operational advancements. The 2030 carbon intensity target is intended to catalyze immediate actions that contribute to the realisation of the airline’s long-term environmental goals.

As an early adopter in Asia, Cathay Pacific has set a target for 10% SAF inclusion in its total fuel consumption by 2030, despite the recognised challenges of transitioning to sustainable energy in aviation. Emphasizing a collaborative approach, Cathay Pacific has initiated the ‘Greener Together’ initiative, which advocates for a unified effort among industry participants.

In conclusion, Cathay Pacific’s establishment of a new carbon intensity target is a calculated measure to advance the airline’s environmental commitments. Through strategic initiatives and alliances, the airline is taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint and to encourage industry-wide collaboration in pursuit of sustainable aviation. Whether regulators and consumers will be satisfied with these steps is another question, especially as aviation finds itself increasingly in the crosshairs of advertising authorities and an increasingly exacting corporate clientele.