Climate change mitigation pathways for the aviation sector

Md Arif Hasan, Abdullah Al Mamun, Syed Masiur Rahman*, Karim Malik, Md Iqram Uddin Al Amran, Abu Nasser Khondaker, Omer Reshi, Surya Prakash Tiwari, Fahad Saleh Alismail

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Even though the contribution of the aviation sector to the global economy is very notable, it also has an adverse impact on climate change. Improvements have been made in different areas (i.e., technology, sustainable aviation fuel, and design) to mitigate these adverse effects. However, the rate of improvement is small compared to the increase in the demand for air transportation. Hence, greenhouse gas emissions in the aviation sector are steadily increasing and this trend is expected to continue unless adequately addressed. In this context, this study examined the following: (i) the factors that affect the growth of aviation, (ii) trends in greenhouse gas emissions in the sector, (iii) trends in energy demand, (iv) mitigation pathways of emissions, (v) mitigation challenges for the International Civil Aviation Organization, (vi) achievements in mitigating emissions, (vii) barriers against mitigating emissions, and (viii) approaches of overcoming barriers against emissions mitigation. This study finds that continued research and development efforts targeting aircraft fuel burn efficiency are crucial in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Although biofuels are promising for the reduction of aviation emissions, techniques to reduce NOx emissions could enhance large-scale deployment. Pragmatic market-based mechanisms, such as the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and/or carbon tax must be enforced on a global scale to capitalize on a collective stakeholder effort to curb CO2 emissions. The findings of this study will help in understanding the emissions and energy consumption scenarios, which will provide a comprehensive package of mitigation pathways to overcome future emissions reduction challenges in the aviation sector.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3656
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: The authors acknowledge the support of the King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM), Saudi Arabia and the Ministry for the Environment, New Zealand, in conducting this research work.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Aviation sector
  • Energy consumption
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • ICAO
  • Mitigation
  • Sustainable aviation fuel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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