The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has partnered with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in a collective effort to lower carbon emissions from air travel, aiming to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. This announcement was made by CAAT director Suthipong Kongpool, following the 2023 ICAO Environmental Regional Seminar for the Asia Pacific Region, which took place recently in Bangkok.
The CAAT intends to collaborate with ICAO’s member countries across the Asia Pacific region, as they work towards the goal of reducing CO² emissions, as certified by the 41st Session of the ICAO Assembly in October last year. Over 200 staff members from various agencies in each country in the region have participated in the initiative, according to Mr. Suthipong.
Since last year, the CAAT has implemented ICAO’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), a policy tool designed to achieve environmental objectives at a lower cost and with greater flexibility. The introduction of new aircraft technologies, such as lighter airframes, enhanced engine performance, and operational improvements, will aid in the achievement of this goal.
As part of this policy, CAAT requires Thai Airways, Thai Smile, NokAir, Thai AirAsia, Thai AirAsia X, Thai VietJet, Thai Lion Air, and K-Mile Air to report their CO² emissions, including information on fuel consumption. ICAO will closely monitor these activities to control gas emissions within the airline industry, and airlines that effectively manage their gas emissions will be awarded a “carbon credit,” which can be traded.
Mr. Suthipong highlighted that research has shown aircraft burn more fuel and emit a higher amount of greenhouse gases during takeoff and landing phases. By operating on one engine instead of two or using full engines of four while taxing from a gate to a runway, an aircraft can reduce fuel consumption by 25% to 50%.
Additionally, he mentioned that by applying a technique of steadily descending during landing, instead of the old leveling technique that consumes significant amounts of fuel, airlines could reduce their fuel consumption by up to 40%. The CAAT is committed to working with Aeronautical Radio to ensure proper air traffic arrangements.
Although the implementation of carbon emission reductions in aviation may initially come at a higher cost, Mr. Suthipong emphasized that it would be a worthwhile investment that will not impact ticket prices. He encouraged airlines to proactively prepare for this important change as the industry strives for greener, more sustainable practices.