Tackling Climate Change

As climate change gains prominence as one of the most important issues on the global agenda, the aviation industry will continue to face increasing scrutiny on actions to mitigate its environmental footprint.

As the effect of the pandemic on air travel continued to dominate in 2021, AirAsia's overall carbon emissions fell for a second year in a row. Our carbon emissions dropped by more than 90% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Roadmap Towards CO2 Reduction

However, we recognise that the situation will reverse once the travel industry recovers. In 2021, we conducted a robust reassessment of our climate strategy to strengthen AirAsia's commitment to align ourselves with the aviation industry's ambitious goal to reach net zero by 2050. Based on existing technologies, we identified four main approaches for AirAsia to converge towards net zero.

Our climate change strategy builds on an established track record of efficiency that saw AirAsia ranked among airlines with the lowest carbon intensities in the world. Between 2017 and 2019, we exceeded IATA's recommendation of 1.5% annual reduction in carbon intensity measures. However, our progress was impacted by changes to our network caused by Covid-19 measures. Over the last two years, carbon intensity rose again as a result of shorter flight lengths.

As the industry recovers, we expect our emissions intensity to revert to pre-Covid levels as the pandemic becomes endemic and more countries begin easing international travel restrictions. Taking focus on this, we made important progress in four emission reduction areas to converge to net zero.

1. Fleet Management

AirAsia's fleet comprises three models of the Airbus A320 family. Our fleet remains relatively young at 8.9 years.

Fleet age 8.9 years

0.6 years younger than
APAC average

AirAsia Group reaffirmed our commitment to upgrade our fleet to the higher capacity and more fuel-efficient A321neo with the signing of an amendment agreement with Airbus in October 2021, covering deliveries until 2035 when zero-emission aircraft are expected to be available commercially.

As the most fuel efficient narrow body commercial jet aircraft available, the rollout of our A321neo fleet is expected to deliver further sustainability gains.

plane image


CO2 per seat

Compared to A320ceo



Progressive delivery from 2024


NOx reduction

Compared to current industry standards



In noise footprint

2. Operational Eco-Efficiency

To complement our fleet strategy, AirAsia maintains an industry-leading fuel efficiency programme. In 2021, the department managed over 27 efficiency projects to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

Up to


Fuel savings per flight

Up to


CO2 savings per flight

In total, our fuel efficiency projects enabled us to avoid 11,175 tonnes of CO2 in 2021 which also delivered significant cost savings.

Emissions avoided

co2 cloud image





tree icon image


trees planted

Total annual investment



Total anticipated annual
cost savings



Recognising this, new investments in 2022 will see AirAsia add at least six new fuel-saving initiatives.

3. Carbon Offsetting

AirAsia has met two key requirements under ICAO's Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). In May 2021, all our airlines submitted independently verified carbon emissions reports for the year 2020.

We also conducted a stakeholder survey on the preferences of the types of carbon projects and will focus our efforts on offsetting on the following projects.

In line with industry best practice, we are in the process of putting in place a scheme to enable offsetting by travellers by the second half of 2022. This early implementation will enable us to build internal capacity to navigate carbon markets to procure CORSIA eligible credits.

Stakeholders' Carbon Offset Preference
4. SAF Strategy

To pave the way for SAF introduction, we formed an SAF Committee to assess the operational and financial feasibility of SAF implementation.

The committee confirmed:

  • The absence of any technological barriers to SAF utilisation
  • A320 family of aircraft are certified to fly with a blend of up to 50% SAF
  • No investment in new infrastructure for fuel supply needed

In Malaysia, AirAsia was invited by the Ministry of International Trade and Investment to join its newly established Task Force for the Exploration of Sustainable Aviation Energy Sources in April 2022. The role of the task force to identify gaps and issues relating to the exploration of sustainable energy sources and develop policy recommendations that would address these gaps.

Waste Management

Capital A strives to reduce as far as possible all waste generated from our operations. To reduce waste to landfill, the Group has set to cut 25% of perishable meals through our latest demand planning tool and by encouraging our passengers to pre-book their meals. To step up our efforts in line with the UN SDG 12 on responsible consumption and production, we are in the midst of developing a robust waste management framework and waste dashboard. Airasia has also been promoting circular economy principles by upcycling its old lifejackets into lifestyle products.

Food Waste Target


of total consumption

Target for 2022
5% compared to 2019

Upcycled materials


lifejackets upcycled into new products

RM 111,020 revenue gained

To improve our environmental reporting, we have included our ground operations emissions into Scope 1. Mirroring the reduction in number of flights due to the pandemic, our Scope 1 emissions has reduced significantly.

Our scope 2 emissions, which corresponds to electricity consumption also decreased by 11% in view of reduced operational activities and work from home arrangements.

Scope 1 Emissions
(Flight+ground operations)


compared to 2020

392,942 tonnes (2021)

Scope 2 Emissions


compared to 2020

2,979 tonnes (2021)

In addition to our sustainability initiatives (staggered switching for power intense equipment, scheduled light usage by zone, low-water use facilities), we continued to further reduce our resource consumption as most of our employees were working remotely.

Electricity Consumption


compared to 2020

4,711 MWh (2021)

Water Consumption


compared to 2020

38,943 m3 (2021)

Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

On top of our robust reassessment of climate strategy, our climate management is further enhanced by alignment to the TCFD recommendations. In 2021, we have successfully identified our business risks and opportunities, the potential financial impact of climate change, and mitigation strategy.

Learn More About Our Sustainability Pillars