The Future of Air Transport in Low Carbon Economy

Sustainability Science Centre is proud to present a sustainability lecture on 11 April 2019, with Callum Thomas, Professor of Sustainable Aviation at the Manchester Metropolitan University.

Over the past 50 years air transport has changed the world in which we live. Aviation growth, linked to the declining cost of flying, has given rise to new patterns of trade and migration, multicultural societies and the international tourism industry.  The resulting social and economic benefits are significant, but so too the adverse environmental costs. The rapid growth of the industry is outstripping the rate of technological and operational improvements with the result that key environmental impacts are increasing year on year, a trend that is unsustainable. At a local level these are already constraining the growth of airports, meanwhile at a global level, given its reliance upon carbon fuels,  the twin threats of climate change and peak oil threaten the very existence of the industry in its current form, in the longer term. Failure to deal with these environmental issues will result in increasing airport constraints, fuel and emissions costs leading to the disappearance of low cost flying. On the other hand, action to resolve these impacts (e.g. investment in step change technologies) also threaten significant increases in the cost of flying, which again have the potential to depress demand and therefore the role that aviation will play in a low carbon economy in 50 years time. 

Callum Thomas has worked in the field of air transport and the environment initially at Manchester Airport and then as Professor of Sustainable Aviation at the Manchester Metropolitan University. He has an international reputation with Governments, industry and in academia, has been advisor to the EC, the Civil Aviation Administration of China and the UK Government. Callum is retiring from academia but will continue his work as director of the consultancy company Callum Thomas Limited offering expertise on alleviating environmental threats to air transport growth.

In this lecture, Callum will discuss the future of sustainable aviation with Martin Porsgaard, Director of Sustainable Aviation, NISA (Nordic Initiative for Sustainable Aviation) and Steven Le-Moing from AIRBUS.

Henrik Hansen, Professor and Head of studies, Department of Economics, will moderate the talk. Commentary by Robert Arendal, retired Aviation Executive.

Admission is free, but registration is necessary.