Jet Zero curriculum takes off, as UK’s largest airports group publishes annual CSR Report

Thousands of young people across the country will benefit from a new Jet Zero Curriculum developed by Manchester Airports Group (MAG), as part of its commitment to creating a more sustainable future.

MAG, which owns and operates Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands Airports, launched the first part of its new curriculum this week in its on-site Aerozones, which welcome young people from schools and colleges in surrounding communities through their doors every day.

The programme, which will be taught at the Group’s onsite Aerozones using interactive game technology, educates young people about Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) – how it is made, and how it will be used by the aviation sector globally to reach its target of net zero by 2050.

The first Jet Zero session took place yesterday at the Manchester Airport Aerozone, with students from Pure Innovations – a local learning provider - immersing themselves in the online learning tool which took them through the SAF production process. A second session took place this morning at London Stansted’s Aerozone with 30 pupils from Water Lane Primary School in Harlow.

This is just the first part of MAG’s plan to roll out a full carbon curriculum, focused on aviation decarbonisation. Further phases will cover airspace modernisation, zero emission aircraft and carbon removals, with additional modules launching across the Group’s Aerozones later this academic year.

Introducing the curriculum delivers the Group’s Jet Zero Education pledge – one of five made in July 2022 when the UK Government published its Jet Zero Strategy. MAG’s other pledges were Jet Zero Research, Jet Zero SAF, Jet Zero Airspace and Jet Zero technology – all of which will contribute to the decarbonisation of the aviation sector.

The launch of the new curriculum comes as the UK’s largest group of airports published its annual CSR Report for 2022-23. The Report tracks the Group’s progress over the last financial year in delivering on its CSR Strategy ‘Working together for a brighter future’, published in 2020. The Strategy focuses on three main areas: Zero Carbon Airports, Opportunity for All, and Local Voices.

As part of the Group’s work to deliver ‘Zero Carbon Airports’, the Report details the partnership Manchester Airport signed with HyNet in November 2022, which could make it the first UK airport ready to power zero emission aircraft with hydrogen fuel by the mid-2030s.

MAG’s Aerozone facilities, which host the Group’s new curriculum, collectively saw more than 6,500 students pass through their doors over the last 12 months. The education facilities are a key part of MAG’s work to deliver ‘Opportunity for All’, which this year also saw the Group’s Airport Academies provide training or employment support to more than 12,000 people.

This year, as part of its work to deliver on the ‘Local Voices’ commitments in the CSR Strategy, MAG launched its Youth Forums to hear directly from younger people about their views on the sustainable development of the business. In its continued support for the communities living closest to its airports, MAG contributed nearly £1m to local causes through its community funds.

MAG CEO Ken O’Toole said:  said: “I am so pleased to see our Jet Zero curriculum become a reality this week as the first students learn about the role of Sustainable Aviation Fuel, in our airport Aerozones.

“We know grassroots education about a sustainable future for aviation will be integral to the future success of our sector, and we’re delighted to have delivered on this pledge. It will see thousands of young people learn more about the decarbonisation of our industry.

“We are committed to reaching net zero carbon operations by 2038, and to working with airline, industry and government partners to reach net zero for UK aviation by 2050. Our sector has a clear and achievable plan to deliver that decarbonisation and, working with the Government through the Jet Zero Council, as MAG we will continue to lead on making net zero aviation a reality.

“We understand just how wide ranging the benefits of international travel are – from tourism and cultural exchange to global trade and investment – and that is why we are dedicated to ensuring that passengers can continue to enjoy them as part of the net zero future of our industry.

“As we publish our annual CSR Report, I am proud of the progress we continue to make across all three of our strategic priorities – ensuring we are playing our part in decarbonisation, providing impactful education and employment opportunities, and listening to our local communities and supporting their causes.”

Aviation Minister Baroness Vere said:   “This is fantastic news for the future of UK aviation. Not only will it bring us a step closer to reaching Jet Zero by 2050, but it will also inspire a new generation of talented young people to join the world of sustainable air travel.

“The transition to Jet Zero presents unique opportunities to grow new industries and technologies, while creating jobs. I am delighted that through this initiative students across the country are learning about these opportunities”. 

MAG’s commitment to creating a more sustainable future is independently recognised. Most recently the Group retained its five-star GRESB ESG rating, and earlier this year became the only UK airport operator to be named a Financial Times European Climate Leader for three successive years.