Airline emissions expected to increase by 3.2 per cent in 2014 but fuel efficiency improvement ahead of target
Mon 9 Jun 2014 – Airlines will burn over 270 billion litres of fuel in 2014 and in the process emit around 722 million tonnes of CO2, predicts IATA. This is a 3.2 per cent increase over the previous year but, points out the global airline association, compares to a 5.2 per cent increase in overall operations as a result of increased consumer demand. With a goal of a 1.5 per cent annual gain in fuel efficiency to 2020, the industry is expecting to improve on this in 2014 to 1.7 per cent per available tonne-kilometre (ATK) and to 1.9 per cent when measured on a revenue tonne-kilometre (RTK) basis. Speaking at IATA’s AGM in Doha last week, Director General Tony Tyler said the aviation sector was united on a strategy towards its approach to sustainable development but in order to meet its carbon neutral growth commitment from 2020 it was essential governments delivered a global market-based measure.
He said 2013 had seen “landmark advances” in the industry’s sustainability agenda, culminating in the agreement by the ICAO Assembly last October to develop such a measure by the time of its next Assembly in 2016.
“That has put aviation at the forefront of industries in managing its environmental impact,” he told delegates. “Airlines will support ICAO in the challenge of turning the Assembly’s laudable intention into a more specific agreement on an actual mechanism. A global mandatory carbon offset scheme is just one transitional element of our strategy. The ultimate goal is to achieve sustainability by reducing carbon emissions through improvements in technology, operations and infrastructure.”
IATA says the fuel efficiency improvement is being driven by investment in new aircraft, which will see airlines taking delivery of 1,400 new aircraft in 2014 valued at around $150 billion, while retiring or parking some 800 less fuel-efficient older aircraft.
In order to meet industry CO2 emissions goals, all member airlines have agreed mandatory reporting on fuel consumption data. In February 2013, IATA launched its online Fuel Reporting and Emissions Database (FRED) and the association reports 89% of member airlines are currently participating. With accurate data, it hopes to demonstrate the benefits of fuel efficiency and mitigation techniques such as winglets or weight-saving measures. “Such techniques often represent modest improvement individually but are enormously effective when applied collectively,” it reports.
IATA has also developed a harmonised fuel measurement protocol and a common fuel measurement metric. This year, it will enhance FRED to include greater reporting capabilities and will seek the endorsement of a recommended practice on fuel measurement.