What are the main challenges and opportunities for reducing the climate impact of aviation in the next 15 years?

Future of Aviation
People sat around tables listening to a presenter at the front of the room
Safe Landing
November 2023

Industries across the globe are reckoning with the change necessary to address the climate crisis. In the UK there is a commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The aviation sector, as an emissions-intensive industry, and its workers are at risk from poorly-planned transitions. For a smooth and just transition, it has never been more important to centre the voices of those who will carry out that change at all levels across the sector. 

Building on the citizens’ assembly model, in November 2023 Involve and Safe Landing delivered the first deliberative workshop on the future of sustainable aviation, at the Aerospace Museum in Bristol.

The process was designed in collaboration with an Advisory Group, made up of experts in the aviation industry, who oversaw the recruitment, process design, and speaker selection, ensuring the independence of the workshop and that the information presented was balanced. The Advisory group included representatives from Royal Aeronautical Society, Manchester University, Bristol University and those working in aviation.

The Process

A diverse group of 31 Bristol-based workers and students in the aviation industry were selected to participate in the 3-hour workshop. The workshop took a three stage approach:

  1. Ideas generation based on existing knowledge and experiences in the group
  2. Content input from a range of speakers representing a diversity of perspectives on the future of sustainable aviation. This included representatives from Sustainable Aviation (SA), the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), and the Climate Change Committee (CCC)
  3. Deliberation based on what had been shared so far on what a future workers’ conversation on the future of sustainable aviation should focus on

You can find more information about the process, key findings and reflections in the short report (below). To find out more about participant demographics, speakers, and detailed discussions please see the appendices (below). 

Where do we go from here?

Involve is committed to ensuring the voices of those most affected by decisions are involved in the decision-making process. Industries in transition are hotspots where the changes required will have long lasting effects on the workers involved and the wider world. For a just transition, it is imperative that workers are engaged in a meaningful way. This is an opportunity to use the established process of a citizen assembly to accelerate progress towards sustainable aviation that works for workers. 

We want to collaborate with industry leaders, trade unions and climate groups to deliver this sort of deliberation at a larger scale and ensure aviation workers have a seat at the table when decarbonising aviation. We also recognise the importance of public deliberation in developing industrial strategies across the hard-to-abate industries and look to current and future governments to commit to making this happen.

Would you like to collaborate?

If you would like to learn more about the transformative potential of involving workers in decisions about the future of aviation or be involved in bringing this to life, please get in touch with Safe Landing: [email protected] or Maddie: [email protected]