Young people inspired by the future of sustainable air travel at inaugural Youth Summit

Young people from areas around the country met last week to discuss a sustainable future for the aviation sector, at a first-of-its kind event this week.

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) - which owns Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands Airports – hosted its inaugural Youth Summit, bringing together for the first time members of each airport’s Youth Forums. Around 70 young people met to discuss aviation decarbonisation, the role Sustainable Aviation Fuel will play, and to help MAG shape its Sustainability Strategy for the next five years. 

The event, held on Wednesday 20th March, at the Leonardo Hotel, East Midlands Airport, also saw the young people discuss how they and MAG could influence policymakers to ensure the aviation sector remained on track to achieve net zero by 2050.  After the event students unanimously felt they knew more about aviation sustainability than before and felt able to express their views on the future of aviation.  They were confident that MAG will take their views into account as they finalise their new Sustainability Strategy.

Aviation decarbonisation has been the focus for the airports’ Youth Forums over the last year, covering themes including Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), carbon removal and capture, and zero emissions flight technology. The Forums were set up last year as part of MAG’s commitment to broaden and further diversify its existing programme of stakeholder consultation and engagement with communities neighbouring its airports.

‘Zero Carbon Airports’ is one pillar of MAG’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy ‘Working together for a brighter future’, and in recent years the Group has been recognised as a leader in aviation decarbonisation, committing to reach net zero carbon in its operations by 2038.

MAG recently called for household waste collected by councils to be turned into SAF as one way to move sustainable aviation forward.

 Adam Freeman, MAG’s Decarbonisation and ESG Director who spoke at the Summit, said: “We are totally committed to playing a leading role within the industry to make aviation sustainable. Our airports were the first in the UK to target and achieve carbon neutral status and we have cut emissions by 87% compared to a 2006 baseline - but we know there is much more we need to do to achieve and maintain net zero operations.

“Involving today’s youth to help us solve tomorrow’s challenges  is really exciting, providing challenge to our thinking and creative, innovative ideas which can help us shape our Sustainability Strategy for the next five years.”