By World Airnews correspondent Wallace Mawire
Zimbabwe is embarking on the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)-European Union Assistance project phase two feasibility study on Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) launched in Harare by the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) recently.
The launch is a follow-up to a seminar held with ICAO and nine other African countries earlier this year.
CAAZ Director-General Elijah Chingosho said that the initiative is to present a work plan on the deployment of CO² mitigation in the aviation sector.
He said that this would give the government and its partners a clearer picture about what is needed to introduce Sustainable Aviation Fuels or SAF in the country.
He confirmed the country’s commitment to decarbonise the aviation sector with assistance from international partners.
Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development said Thedius Chinyanga, said the country had been participating in several ICAO programmes such as the ICAO assistance with EU funding- capacity building for CO² mitigation from international aviation, the Carbon Off-setting and Reduction Scheme from International Aviation (CORSIA) including ICAO assistance, capacity building and training for sustainable aviation fuels.
‘This serves as a reaffirmation of the government of Zimbabwe’s support for ICAO’s programmes aimed at establishing a safe, secure, orderly, and sustainable international air transport system as well as dovetailing with our commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),” said Chinyanga.
He said Zimbabwe was grateful to ICAO for the role it is playing in making sure that the country is on board in combating climate change in line with its thrust of ‘no country left behind.’
He said to demonstrate Zimbabwe’s commitment to decarbonizing international aviation, the State Action Plan (SAP) was submitted to ICAO in 2022 and put forward 19 strategies towards this goal.
He said that the sector and the country were happy that ICAO recognised the country’s efforts in the research and development of bio-fuels as an opportunity to leverage as it moves towards the attainment of the long-term aspirational goal of ‘net-zero’ carbon emissions by 2050.
He added that these efforts of the country had culminated in it being selected as a site for the ICAO-EU-funded feasibility study on the development and deployment of Sustainable Aviation Fuels with the resource support of about (US) $10 000.
Zimbabwe has 200 airports and aerodromes with a design capacity of 3,8 million passengers per annum and the current projected growth of the aviation and transport sector is envisaged to result in increased Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.
Currently, the transport sector alone is said to contribute 12% of the country’s GHG emissions.
Chinyanga says that it is estimated that out of these GHG emissions, 97% result from the direct combustion of fossil fuels.
‘To put this into proper perspective, Zimbabwe’s air transport consists mainly of regional and domestic flights with a few but increasing international flights. As we strive to attain increased capacity utilisation of our aviation infrastructure, it is also disconcerting to note that the carbon footprint associated with air transport also increases,’ Chinyanga said.
He said that studies have shown that the carbon footprint associated with air travel is much higher than any other mode of transport. It is estimated that CO² per kilometer per person transported by an aircraft is about 322.8g when the plane is full, compared to 204.2g for a car, 60.2g for a train, and 81.8g for a passenger bus.