MAG supports Government’s Jet Zero Strategy with new pledges for a more sustainable aviation sector
Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has today welcomed the launch of the Government’s Jet Zero Strategy and announced a series of new pledges to support the aviation industry in delivering its goal to reach Net Zero by 2050.
The Strategy, launched today at the Farnborough Air Show, sets out the Government’s approach to maintaining the wide-ranging benefits that aviation brings to the UK while reducing carbon emissions to Net Zero by 2050.
The Strategy includes an interim target of Net Zero domestic flights by 2040, a new Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) mandate to ensure at least 10% of jet fuel is SAF by 2030 and a commitment to ensuring at least five SAF plants are under construction by 2025.
The five new Jet Zero pledges set out by MAG cover a range of issues which will help drive the industry forward towards net zero aviation:
1. Jet Zero Education: MAG will develop new Jet Zero educational materials for use at its Aerozones and Airport Academies to improve understanding of how aviation plans to reach net zero. The Group will supply these materials to other Jet Zero Council members and to schools in the areas around its three airports.
2. Jet Zero Research: MAG will fund three PhD projects on air travel decarbonisation to support the work of the Jet Zero Council
3. Jet Zero Technology: MAG will launch a new competition offering five years of free landing fees to the first zero-emission aircraft operating transatlantic flights from its airports.
4. Jet Zero SAF: MAG will create a financial incentive as part of its charging arrangements to encourage airlines to go further than the UK Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) mandate on flights from its airports.
5. Jet Zero Airspace: MAG is committed to delivering airspace modernisation at its airports at the earliest opportunity as a key lever of decarbonisation.
The Group will work closely with Government and aviation industry partners to support the Jet Zero Charter and deliver on its pledges, which make positive contributions to the delivery of UK aviation’s commitment to reaching Jet Zero by 2050.
MAG CEO Charlie Cornish said: “Decarbonisation is one the most important issues facing our society and at MAG we are committed to playing a full role in the aviation industry achieving Net Zero.
“The publication of the Jet Zero Strategy is an important recognition by Government of the commitments made by our industry for a more sustainable future.
“With the pledges we have announced today, we will be working even more closely with our industry partners and the UK Government through the Jet Zero Council, to make real and measurable progress against the targets we have in place.
“MAG has always taken a proactive and ambitious approach to decarbonisation for over a decade, and I am proud of the work we have delivered over that time. Our landmark partnership with Fulcrum BioEnergy UK on SAF and the important progress we are making with airspace modernisation at our airports shows that we are committed to playing our part in achieving net zero by 2050.”
MAG, which owns and operates Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports, has long been an industry-leader in aviation decarbonisation and sustainability and is currently working hard to make its operations net zero carbon by 2038.
The Group was a founding member of Sustainable Aviation in 2005 and was one of two airport operators to be founder members of the Government’s Jet Zero Council in 2020.
In October last year, MAG announced its partnership with Fulcrum BioEnergy UK, which supports the production of SAF in the North West and has the potential to make Manchester Airport the first in the UK to have a direct SAF pipeline from 2026.
Earlier this year, London Stansted Airport became the first major airport to pass Stage 2 ‘Develop and Assess’ of the Civil Aviation Authority’s CAP1616 airspace change process.
In 2022, MAG became the first airport operator to be named a Financial Times European Climate Leader two years in a row and was the only airport operator to feature on the list. In 2021, MAG was named the highest performing transport organisation, ranking 37th out of 300.
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps said:
“The UK is setting an example of the ambition needed to tackle climate change, and the Jet Zero Strategy provides a clear path to building a greener aviation sector for generations to come.
“Crucially, reaching net zero will require the whole industry to pull together. I welcome the commitments MAG has made, and look forward to supporting it and the rest of the UK’s aviation sector to be at the forefront of this green revolution.”
Notes to Editors
About Manchester Airports Group
MAG is the UK’s largest group of airports, which owns and operates Manchester Airport, London Stansted Airport and East Midlands Airport. In 2019, the Group served over 60 million passengers.
To build a more sustainable future, MAG has an extensive and ambitious Strategy – ‘Working together for a brighter future’ - in place, with a target to be Net Zero carbon by 2038 – 12 years ahead of the national target.
MAG was the first airport group in the UK to be certified as Carbon Neutral in 2016, with East Midlands Airport being the first airport in the UK to gain certification in 2012. All three of MAG’s airports are certified Level 3+ (Neutrality) by the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.
MAG is the only airport operator to be named a Financial Times European Climate Leader two years in a row. In 2021, MAG was the highest performing transport organisation and in 2022 was the only airport to be featured on the list.
In 2021 MAG was ranked the highest performing European airport operator in GRESB’s annual Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) ratings, identifying the Group as a ‘sector leader’ with environmental policies. GRESB provides investors and financial institutions with an overview of how organisations manage and perform against key environmental, social and governance issues.
About the Jet Zero Council
The Jet Zero Council is made up of representatives of the UK aviation industry and the UK Government Department for Transport and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
It was set up in the summer of 2020 with the aim of delivering a zero emission transatlantic flight within a generation.
More information on the Council can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/jet-zero-council