21 September 2022
The first study by the Milan Polytechnic presented at Fiumicino Airport Terminal 5

Rome 21 September 2022 - The complete decarbonisation of the aviation sector by 2050 will be achievable through the implementation of multiple strategies that, in the short to medium term, will be geared towards the development of bio-fuels and with the necessary support from policy makers, while in the medium to long term may include innovative solutions, including the use of hydrogen in turbines. This is what emerges from the study by the Energy & Strategy Group of the Politecnico di Milano carried out for the Air Transport Decarbonisation Pact, the Observatory promoted by Aeroporti di Roma that brings together industrial players, institutional stakeholders, associations, and representatives of the academic world under the patronage of the Ministry for Ecological Transition, the Ministry for Sustainable Infrastructures and Mobility and Enac, presented today during the first annual conference held at Terminal 5 of Fiumicino Airport.

Many figures from the corporate, institutional and association spheres took part in the debate moderated by Giuseppe De Bellis, Director of Sky TG24, Nathania Zevi, Journalist Rai3 and Janina Landau, Head of the Rome office of Class CNBC. Speakers included: Carlo Borgomeo, President of Assaeroporti,  Valentina Lener General Director Aeroporti 2030, Ernesto Ciorra, Chief Innovability® Officer, Enel Group, Serafino D'Angelantonio, Airbus Chief Representative in Italy, Claudio De Vincenti, President of Aeroporti di Roma, Pierluigi Di Palma, President ENAC, Costantino Fiorillo General Director for Airports, Air Transport and Satellite Services of MIMS, Marco Frey President of UN Global Compact Network, Enrico Giovannini, Minister of Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility, Giorgio Graditi, Director of ENEA's Energy Technologies and Renewable Sources Department, Fabio Lazzerini, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of ITA Airways, Luigi di Marco, ASVIS Coordination Area Secretary, Vito Mangano, General Manager of Assohandlers, Nicolò Mardegan, Director of Assaereo, Ezio Di Genesio Pagliuca, Deputy Mayor of Fiumicino, Costanza Sebastiani, Government Affairs & Strategy Boeing Italy and Southern Europe, Luciano Neri, Secretary General of IBAR, Alessio Quaranta, General Director of ENAC, Lorenzo Radice, Head of Sustainability of the Italian State Railways Group, Giuseppe Ricci, General Director of Energy Evolution of ENI, Katia Riva, Chief Sustainability Officer Atlantia, Rafael Schvartzman, Regional Vice President Europe of IATA, Paolo Simioni, CEO ENAV.

Given the central role of air transport for the development of the economy and the social fabric, its capacity to foster the development of trade and direct foreign investment, to fuel the growth of markets, to facilitate greater competition and greater transfers of technology and knowledge, the Pact was created with the aim of defining a path that makes the development of global connectivity and productivity compatible with environmental protection.

The first annual congress gathered at Fiumicino Airport's Terminal 5 where all the members of the Pact presented their contributions to define the tools that are indispensable in order to pursue decarbonisation, concerning the regulatory and technological aspects of both fuel production and the development of the airport infrastructure and intermodality sector. 

The study carried out by the Politecnico di Milano includes a mathematical model outlining in the timeframe which technology combination the aviation sector will have to adopt with the relative maximisation of technical-economic feasibility up to 2050.  Based on this, it was possible to define the tools that are indispensable for moving forward on the path to decarbonisation, which concern regulatory aspects, fuel production technology and the airport and intermodal infrastructure sector. 

In order to achieve climate neutrality goals, it will in fact be necessary to introduce policies that, instead of relying on restrictive measures, allow for the necessary expansion and development of air transport through the definition of clear and binding rules and objectives that can be concretely achieved through intermediate targets.


  • Fit for 55: Corrective action should be taken to prevent an undeniable opportunity for harmonisation of rules at the European level from translating into a competitive disadvantage for the sector with loss of connectivity and a shift of traffic to non-European hubs.
  • Taxonomy: expand the scope of managers' environmentally sustainable activities included in the classification system introduced by the European Taxonomy, aimed at ensuring reliability, consistency and comparability of activities to protect private investors from greenwashing and help companies in the sustainable transition.
  • Renewable energy: identify appropriate facilitated pathways for airport operators to have renewable energy production facilities built at airports.
  • Avoiding new taxes on air transport by redirecting revenue from existing purpose fees to support sustainability investments in the sector.
  • SAF (bio-fuel): interventions - also of an economic and fiscal nature - to progressively replace the use of traditional fuels through ad hoc measures to ensure that SAF production takes place in a sustainable manner and develops in a controlled and regulated manner.
  • Synthetic fuels: develop the Power to Liquid/Electro-fuel production chain to accelerate large-scale applicability through research and development incentives.
  • Hydrogen/electric: Support, in the medium term, the research and development of alternative energy carriers for aircraft propulsion (hydrogen and electric).
  • Intermodality/Electricity: Develop, within the framework of airport development plans, measures to support rail-air intermodality in support of medium- to long-haul flights and electric/alternative modes to reach airports. It is also desirable that the electrification of the airport fleet be adequately supported to accelerate its implementation.
  • Airport Efficiency/Innovation: promote and incentivise the adoption of energy efficiency measures for existing airport infrastructure (e.g. environmental certification) and processes aimed at optimising flight procedures and the introduction of CO₂-reducing digital innovation systems.
  • CO2 compensation: Opportunity to incentivise actions to absorb CO₂ from the atmosphere (carbon removal) and establish the National Compensation Register with rigorous, clear and internationally certified calculation methods, supporting decarbonisation processes in the country.