Spinter Research conducted a representative public survey of 1,008 respondents aged between 18 and 75 years from 20-28 April 2022. A significant proportion of respondents (17%) indicated that aviation and air transport are among the most carbon-intensive activities, but this is not true.
According to aviation experts, global environmental analyses show that the prevailing attitudes do not correspond to reality - aviation is responsible for only about 2% of the planet's carbon dioxide emissions, similar to water transport, and in Lithuania, aviation is responsible for even less than 2% of the carbon footprint, a level of emissions that is very similar to that of rail transport.
The table below provides more statistics on Lithuania's emissions by sector and CO2 emissions overall.
The last decade has seen a technological breakthrough, with aircraft fuel efficiency increasing by around 2% annually, and efficiency trends will continue unabated in this decade, as the entire aviation sector, all its players, have set targets to drastically reduce the emissions they generate by 2030, which are not even among the highest at present. The market is not only discussing but also testing the first all-electric aircraft, and the option of hydrogen as a fuel for aircraft is being explored in the longer term.
More specifically, the aviation sector is set to achieve the following CO2 reductions by 2050:
Improving aircraft and engine technology (up to 37% less emissions):
more fuel-efficient aircraft;
hydrogen and hybrid-electric aircraft plus infrastructure.
Use of sustainable aviation fuels (up to 34% less emissions).
Economic measures (up to 8% reduction in emissions):
The EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and ICAO's (International Civil Aviation Organisation) CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation);
CO2 offset projects.
Improving air traffic management and aircraft operations (up to 6% reduction in emissions):
Innovations in air traffic management and flight planning.
There are also measures that airports will take to reduce CO2 emissions by 2050:
Improving the energy efficiency of buildings;
Innovative building management systems.
Continuous renewal of the transport fleet;
Increasing the number of electric vehicles and equipment.
Green energy and fuels from renewable sources:
Generating energy from renewable sources (solar, wind, geothermal);
Energy certificates of origin;
Analysis of the production of SAF from indigenous resources.
Adapting infrastructure to new technologies:
Preparation for SAF supply and maintenance of electric and hydrogen powered aircraft;
Electrification of aircraft parking facilities.
Lithuanian airports are also taking initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions:
"The Airport Carbon Accreditation" (ACA) programme, initiated and implemented by Airport Council International, helps airports to achieve their sustainability goals. It is an inter-institutional and internationally recognised programme. Vilnius Airport started participating in 2015 and Kaunas and Palanga airports in 2019.
In autumn 2022, Vilnius Airport achieved significant recognition from the ACA international environmental programme. By implementing the measures set out in the 2019 Carbon Reduction Plan, Lithuania's largest airport has managed to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions per passenger by more than a third in just a few years. This has enabled the airport to reach the third of four milestones of the international ACA programme, called Optimisation. Moving into this phase means that the airport's partners will be involved in reducing carbon emissions. This is the best rating among Baltic airports.
At the same time, Kaunas and Palanga airports have set themselves specific carbon reduction targets, prepared plans to achieve them, and entered the next phase of the ACA programme, called Reduction.
It is planned that the CO2 emissions per passenger at Vilnius Airport will be reduced by about one third to 1.3 kg by 2024 (compared to 2.52 kg in 2015, 2.39 kg in 2016 and 1.89 kg per passenger in 2021)."