There is still work to be done, however. According to the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), more than three billion people took to the skies in 2013.
ATAG states that aviation is responsible for 12 percent of CO2 emissions from transport sources, compared to 74 percent from road transport.
Going forward, ATAG has set itself ambitious goals, and is targeting a 50 percent reduction in net aviation carbon emissions by 2050, compared to 2005 levels.
Creating planes that are both fast and environmentally friendly is a key goal for the aviation industry, and the way that planes are being designed is also changing.
"What we're moving towards now in the 21st century are more novel materials being used on wings," Mudassir Lone, from Cranfield's Center for Aeronautics, told CNBC.
The Center for Aeronautics is one of the world's biggest centers for postgraduate education and research into aerodynamics and aircraft design.
"So, consequently the wings can be made far more lightweight. At the same time the actual wing geometry is changing, because we want to minimize drag and hence improve efficiency of the aircraft," Lone added.
The use of carbon composites in aeroplanes is another innovation that could also transform flight.
"Carbon composites is one of the big developments: being able to make very efficient structures, very… lightweight, to imbed systems into the structures themselves," Iain Gray, director of aerospace at Cranfield, said.