Abstract for: How much can electric aircraft contribute to reaching the Flightpath 2050 CO2 emissions goal? A system dynamics approach

In 2012, the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE) introduced Flightpath 2050 defining the emission reduction targets for the aviation industry in the EU. The purpose of this study is to assess the impact of electric aircraft for short haul flights on reaching the Flightpath 2050 CO2 emissions goal using different policy scenarios within the EU. We develop a system dynamics model of the air transport system (ATS), consisting of the interaction between three major segments, namely air travel demand, airline industry and aircraft manufacturers. The model is run for the time period from 1991 to 2050, where electric aircraft are introduced in the year 2035. We simulate the behavior of the ATS under different policy scenarios to test their influence on electric aircraft adoption rates. The results of the analysis suggest that implementing an individual policy is not enough to reach the Flightpath 2050 CO2 emissions goal, whereas by combining policies the goal was reached. Specifically, the combination of a fleet restriction policy with electricity subsidy demonstrates a higher electric aircraft adoption rate than that of other combinations. Also, sensitivity analysis shows that combinations with electricity subsidy display higher volatility in the CO2 emissions interval.