Summary: 2018 Annual Report – Canada’s Action Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Aviation

The 2018 Annual Report is the seventh report under Canada’s Action Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Aviation (“the Action Plan”). This report describes the progress made towards the Action Plan’s fuel efficiency target and highlights activities aimed to address greenhouse gas emissions from both domestic and international aviation.


Aviation is vital to Canada’s transportation network. It is essential to Canada’s domestic and international trade, as well as for connecting Canadians within the country and to the rest of the world. Canada’s air industry also serves remote communities where it is often the only way to move people and basic commodities.

The Canadian aviation industry has had a strong climate action strategy in place since 2005. The approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which continues under Canada’s Action Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Aviation, is centered on adopting new technology, making operational improvements and investing in infrastructure. It also focuses on research and development to support the future use of sustainable aviation fuel, which is needed to help meet the sector’s long-term environmental goals. These activities also contribute to seven of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Furthermore, industry also has a strong engagement presence with the government as Canada develops and implements effective market-based measures and a clean fuel standard under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

This is the seventh Annual Report under the Action Plan. Good progress has been made on the Plan’s implementation, which has led to Canadian air carriers improving their fuel intensity by 3.3 percent in 2018. Since 2008, there has been an average annual improvement rate of 2 percent, which exceeds the Action Plan’s target of 1.5 percent. Without these efficiency improvements, the sector would have emitted an additional 19.3 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent from 2008-2018.

While the sector continues to demonstrate meaningful fuel efficiency gains, within the last year alone, demand for Canadian air transport grew by 8.5 percent. To meet the demand, air carriers used 5 percent more fuel, which consequentially increased greenhouse gas emissions by the same amount. In total, Canadian air carriers emitted 22 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, with approximately two thirds being generated from international flights. The emissions from domestic flights represent roughly 1 percent of Canada’s total emissions.

In addition to reporting on annual fuel use and efficiency, this document also identifies and describes a series of measures taken to address greenhouse gas emissions across the aviation sector. These measures include:

  • fleet renewals and upgrades
  • more efficient air operations
  • improved air traffic management capabilities
  • aviation environmental research and development
  • alternative fuels
  • airport ground operations and infrastructure use
  • regulatory measures and
  • international coordination

Finally, this report also provides a preview of important milestones achieved in 2019, including the fleet renewal and upgrades of National Air Council of Canada and Air Transport Association of Canada carriers, progress under the Government of Canada’s Sky’s the Limit Challenge and the drafting of the offsetting phase of Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation.

Infographic: Greening Aviation in Canada

2018 Annual Report – Canada’s Action Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Aviation