GREENAIR NEWSLETTER 19 JUNE 2015
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A good outcome at the Paris COP would help provide momentum to an ICAO MBM agreement, says IATA’s Tyler
Thu 18 Jun 2015 – It would be very concerning if the progress being made at ICAO on reaching an agreement on a global market-based measure for air transport was undone by any “wrong turns” at the UNFCCC COP21 summit in Paris later this year, IATA Director General Tony Tyler told an event held at the Paris Air Show today. Sharing a platform with French foreign affairs minister Laurent Fabius and environment minister Ségolène Royal, Tyler said the unique circumstances and international nature of air transport required a different approach than the UNFCCC was able to provide but a good outcome at the COP would help to provide momentum at ICAO too. Since the industry had signed up to its climate action goals in 2009, airlines had spent nearly a trillion dollars putting new energy-efficient aircraft into their fleets, he said. The ‘COP21 from the sky’ event also included a reaffirmation of carbon reduction goals by French aviation industry leaders.
Tyler said aviation was a lifeline to the outside world, particularly for remote communities and small island states, and the growth in air travel had benefited the trade and tourism of developing and emerging economies the most. He said the industry had taken early action “to reconcile the need to serve all corners of the globe, to help boost development and support sustainable tourism, whilst also taking care to reduce CO2 emissions.”
He said the industry had been working hard with civil society to put in place an international scheme at ICAO and believed a global offsetting mechanism that ensured fair treatment of all airlines and simplicity of design would help deliver the greatest environmental integrity in the most cost-effective way.
“We are confident that, given the current pace of discussions, it will be possible for an agreement to be made at ICAO next year, with the implementation details being clarified in the lead-up to 2020. This is not a process without challenges of course, but it is also the first time such a global mechanism for an individual sector has ever been attempted. Once again: aviation showing leadership.
“We have some tough work ahead of us at ICAO and the negotiators meeting for COP21 in this very location in six months will also have a daunting task. But they can rest assured that, for one sector at least, climate action really has taken flight.”
At the event in Le Bourget, Aéroports de Paris (ADP), Air France-KLM and the French aerospace industry association GIFAS signed a joint statement committing to improve energy efficiency and contribute to the UN IPCC-recommended 2 degrees C climate goal. Action would be taken, they said, on technological progress, the use of sustainable alternative fuels, and improved operating performance, airport infrastructure and air traffic management. The three organisations are working with the Civil Aviation Research Council (CORAC) and various state services to further development in these areas, they said, including a target for new aircraft to achieve a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020 and 75% by 2050, relative to the year 2000.
Air France-KLM said it was committed to reducing CO2 emissions from its flight operations by 20% by 2020 compared to 2011 on a per passenger per kilometre basis, while ADP is targeting a reduction in the CO2 emissions of its airport infrastructure per passenger by 50% between 2009 and 2020.
According to the Airbus Global Market Forecast released at the Air Show, global passenger traffic will grow at an average 4.6% a year over the next 20 years, driving a need for some 32,600 new passenger and freighter aircraft worth $4.9 trillion. By 2034, the world fleet will more than double from today’s 19,000 aircraft to 38,500, predicts the aircraft manufacturer, with some 13,100 aircraft being replaced with more fuel efficient types.
Rival manufacturer Boeing agrees with the 4.9% passenger annual growth forecast over the next 20 years, near the historic trend of 5%, with more than 7 billion passengers flying by the end of the period. In its annual Current Market Outlook published on the eve of the show, Boeing projects a demand for 38,050 new aircraft over the period at a value of $5.6 trillion. By the end of the forecast period, the commercial aircraft fleet will double from 21,600 in 2014 to 43,560 in 2034, it says, with 58% of the new aircraft delivered being to accommodate growth.
IATA – Tony Tyler speech in full , Air France-KLM statement
Etihad and partners launch roadmap towards establishing a sustainable aviation biofuel industry in the UAE
Thu 18 Jun 2015 – A roadmap launched by Etihad Airways and other industry partners indicates that Abu Dhabi holds significant potential to supply domestic feedstocks that can contribute to the formation of a viable sustainable aviation biofuel industry. Following the launch of the BIOjet Abu Dhabi initiative in January 2014, the roadmap is the culmination of a year-long investigation by the airline and its partners, which include Boeing, Total, Takreer and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. The roadmap examines current wider progress on the development of aviation biofuels and explores how a supply chain could be established in the UAE and the necessary feedstock, infrastructure and policy requirements. Three potential feedstocks are identified: cellulosics and oils from saltwater tolerant plants, municipal and agriculture waste, and local forest management. Etihad has also just conducted a fuel-optimised ‘perfect flight’ between Abu Dhabi and Washington DC as part of a new programme.
“The industry’s licence to grow can only be granted if we find and implement ways to lower the carbon footprint of commercial aviation,” said Etihad CEO James Hogan, announcing the roadmap. “The formation of a viable UAE aviation biofuel industry in Abu Dhabi presents significant opportunity for the capital’s ongoing economic diversification initiatives.”
The greatest challenge facing the creation of viable aviation biofuel supply chains is developing adequate supplies of feedstock at competitive prices, says the roadmap report. As a member of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group and a commitment to follow the sustainability principles laid out by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials, it is also vital that Abu Dhabi feedstocks do not have harmful impacts on food and water security and provide significant reductions in overall greenhouse gas emissions, adds Etihad.
Given Abu Dhabi’s constraints on freshwater and arable land, the current local agricultural sector would not be a sustainable source of dedicated energy crops but residues from agricultural operations could supply feedstocks, as could municipal wastes. Another potential source is undergoing research by Masdar called the Integrated Seawater Energy and Agriculture System (ISEAS), an initiative to develop a unique form of aquaculture involving saltwater-tolerant plants grown on non-arable desert land irrigated with seawater. A pilot facility is currently under construction within Masdar City. Small-scale planting of the halophytic plant salicornia has shown yields compare favourably with soybeans and sunflowers grown with freshwater on conventional croplands. However, there are challenges over coastal land constraints and land tenure.
Municipal and agricultural wastes are highly sustainable feedstocks as they do not put pressure on land and water use or food security and biodiversity. Abu Dhabi is facing pressing waste management challenges that saw waste streams grow by 27% from 2009 to 2013. Under ambitious plans, a government strategy calls for 85% diversion of recyclable or reusable materials by 2030 and identifies waste-to-energy as the only means to achieve the goal. The roadmap notes the interest in this feedstock source by British Airways and Cathay Pacific. A major challenge though is the sorting of useable organic waste, with a significant portion of local waste being mixed with sand, construction waste and other non-organic waste. To rely on waste streams as a feedstock will require the long-term certainty of an acceptable supply, says the report.
Unusually for the region, Abu Dhabi has created a forest landscape upon formerly desert lands and the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi is managing 409 forests spanning 220,000 hectares and containing 18 million trees that are home to around 42,000 antelope and hooved animals. Strong efforts are being made to reduce the pressure on limited groundwater resources, and a different forest mix that includes species demanding less water could create an additional revenue stream as fuel feedstocks and support the long-term sustainability of the legacy forests. However, some commercially viable species are non-native and therefore must be evaluated for their impact, as must the effects of commercial operations on wildlife.
Based on its own petroleum resources and infrastructure, Abu Dhabi already has in place a fully developed jet fuel supply chain and one of the BIOjet Abu Dhabi partners, Takreer, produces jet fuel at two local refineries. Takreer is developing its own aviation biofuel expertise and the demonstration flight undertaken by Etihad in January 2014 (see article) was powered by a plant-derived farnesane product that underwent final distillation at the Takreer Research Centre.
“The development of a biofuel supply chain complements our future plans to meet the rapidly growing demand for jet fuel at both a local and regional level,” said Takreer CEO Jasem Ali Al Sayegh.
The roadmap emphasises that biorefineries will need to be suitably located to provide economical transportation and delivery from feedstock production areas, with the three potential feedstock sources representing different transportation and delivery challenges.
Acknowledging that a substantial cost gap between petroleum fuels and their biofuel substitutes will remain in the early years until a viable scale of operations is reached, the partners say the infant aviation biofuel industry will need significant financial investment that in turn requires public policy support to level the playing field.
The roadmap concludes with an action plan on the next steps to be taken on feedstock supply and biorefinery development.
In a separate initiative involving Etihad Airways, the airline recently launched the Abu Dhabi Perfect Flight Program by conducting a fuel-optimised ‘perfect flight’ between Abu Dhabi and Washington DC. Over 30 stakeholders – including civil aviation authorities, airports, ground services and air navigation providers – were involved in the 11,000km flight of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, one of the airline’s longest routes.
Using a number of fuel and emission-saving measures in the air and on the ground – such as optimised ground handling at both ends of the journey and maximising efficiency opportunities in route and altitude selection – the flight saved an estimated eight minutes on the route, 4,100 litres of fuel and 10,700kgs of carbon emissions compared to the same aircraft flying a normal flight plan.
“The significance of the environment to the aviation sector continues to grow and there is every indication that this will continue,” commented Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director General of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority. “The Program offers a tremendous opportunity for more environmentally-friendly flights in the UAE aviation sector.”
Etihad Airways – ‘BIOjet Abu Dhabi: Flight Path to Sustainability’ roadmap
Fuel efficiency software company OpenAirlines secures investment to expand its global coverage
Wed 17 Jun 2015 – Toulouse-based fuel efficiency software provider and consultancy OpenAirlines has secured €1 million ($1.1m) in funding from French investment fund Alter Equity3P to help it expand its sales and marketing resources. The company, which founded in 2006, says this will allow it to open subsidiaries in Asia, the Middle East and the USA over the next 18 months. It carried out five years of research and development in its formative years, including involvement with an EU Clean Sky project called CARING (Contribution of Airlines for the Reduction of Industry Nuisances and Gases). Since 2013, OpenAirlines has developed and commercialised SkyBreathe, which uses complex algorithms to automatically analyse the huge amounts of data available in flight data recorders to assess the fuel efficiency of flights and make it possible to reduce up to 5% of fuel consumed on a flight.
Initially, the company provided consulting and business services to airlines and aircraft manufacturers, notably Air France and Airbus, and now SkyBreathe is in service or in the process of being implemented by 10 airlines around the world, including Air France subsidiary Transavia. Other clients include France’s second biggest airline Aigle Azur, Turkey’s Onur Air and Polish charter carrier Enter Air.
The company claims that while other fuel efficiency solutions use simplified statistical parameters, its software uniquely integrates actual flight conditions – for example, payload, weather conditions, trajectory and air traffic control constraints – enabling airlines to implement the most effective best practices to reduce their fuel consumption. OpenAirlines also offers software solutions to help airlines prepare and pre-verify their EU ETS reports and also to aid crew and fleet management.
The company’s turnover in 2014 amounted to €1.1 million, a 30% growth over the previous year. Launched in 2013, Alter Equity3P supports companies that have achieved a turnover higher than €1 million under a strategy based on long-term social responsibility, profitable growth and sustainable development.
“SkyBreathe is right in step with the Alter Equity philosophy by empowering airlines to lower their fossil fuel consumption and cut greenhouse gas emissions,” said OpenAirlines.
The company is exhibiting at this week’s Paris Air Show (Hall 2A).
OpenAirlines , Alter Equity3P
US EPA starts regulatory process to address aircraft emissions through a CO2 standard although NGOs unconvinced
Thu 11 Jun 2015 – After an eight-year fight by environmental groups for regulatory action, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has now concluded that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from aircraft harm the climate and require addressing. The EPA says the US is responsible for 29% of all global GHG emissions from aircraft and concedes that aviation remains the single largest transportation source not yet subject to GHG standards in the US. To address the issue, the EPA is already working with the FAA on an international CO2 standard being developed at ICAO that if passed would be required to be adopted domestically under the US Clean Air Act. However, NGOs fear the standard will not be stringent enough and have little impact on emission reductions, although industry argues the standard will contribute to its global goals. The EPA announced an imminent 60-day public comment period.
The Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) released yesterday is an initial step in the process for the EPA to adopt international CO2 standards set by ICAO and the 194-page document details the impact of emissions from commercial aircraft on the climate and information on the ICAO standard-setting process.
The EPA said since it determined on the negative climate effects of cars and light trucks in 2009, the science on human-induced climate change had strengthened and supported its proposed finding that GHGs emitted from aircraft engines contribute to pollution that causes climate change endangering public health and welfare. The proposed cause and contribution findings were an initial step, it said, towards potentially aligning future international and US standards for CO2 emissions from aircraft engines.
“Today’s action supports the goals of the President’s Climate Action Plan to reduce emissions from large sources of carbon pollution,” it added in a statement.
The EPA was first petitioned over the issue as long ago as 2007 by four US environmental groups – Friends of the Earth, Oceana, the Center for Biological Diversity and Earthjustice – which later brought a successful lawsuit to compel the agency to act. Despite the victory, the groups are unconvinced that the steps proposed by the EPA in relying on a future, so far undefined CO2 standard will achieve meaningful reductions in emissions.
Vera Pardee, Senior Counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity, said the EPA was dodging its climate responsibility by waiting for action from ICAO.
“In the last 18 years, ICAO has not adopted any measure to curb aircraft-induced global warming,” she said. “The organisation has rejected, in turn, efficiency standards, fuel taxes, emissions charges and global emissions trading.”
The Earthjustice attorney who brought the suit, Sarah Burt, added: “We commend the EPA for completing this important first step in regulating carbon pollution from airplanes, but, unfortunately, given the magnitude of aircraft’s contribution to climate change, the tentative approach that the EPA is considering is not up to the task. Instead of using its Clean Air Act authority to reduce these harmful emissions, the EPA proposes to follow the lead of ICAO and set a business-as-usual standard that will lock in emissions increases for decades to come.”
Key questions remain on the stringency and applicability of the standard that ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) – which includes representatives from industry as well as NGOs – is expected to agree at its meeting in February 2016, before it is accepted by the ICAO Council and ratified by the Assembly later in the year.
“The ICAO standard won’t deliver substantial reductions because they are setting a standard that 90-95% of aircraft already meet,” contends Burt. “It won’t apply it to existing aircraft, which have 20-30 year lifespans – only to new designs, which would push back the phase-in even more.”
Dan Rutherford of the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) said the proposal to grandfather in a large number of current aircraft designs would mean that a standard applied in 2020 would cover only 5% of the global fleet in 2030, according to ICCT analysis. However, his reading of the ANPR document suggests the US may not be entirely satisfied with the current direction the standard is heading.
“The ANPR implies the US may go even further if ICAO doesn’t agree a standard with teeth,” he said. “We might end up with something similar to the approach that the US has taken for international ships, which are subject to tighter environmental requirements in US waters than when operated elsewhere.”
Burt agrees that as the EPA has the authority to regulate US aircraft under the Clean Air Act, it is not limited to simply implementing the ICAO standard and could include in-use aircraft and set stringency levels above the floor contemplated by ICAO.
“Just as the EU included aviation in its emissions trading scheme, the EPA can set a CO2 standard that meets the requirements of the Clean Air Act and nor is it limited to ICAO’s timeline,” she said.
The ANPR mentions that traditionally international emission standards for aircraft engines have first been adopted by ICAO and subsequently the EPA has initiated rulemakings to establish domestic standards that are of at least equal stringency as ICAO’s engine standards. “However,” it states, “the Chicago Convention, which established ICAO, recognises that ICAO member states may adopt their own unique standards that are more stringent than ICAO standards.”
It adds later: “We ask for comment on the possibility of the EPA adopting a more stringent aircraft engine emissions standard than ICAO, provided ICAO/CAEO promulgates a standard in 2016 and the EPA makes a positive endangerment finding.”
Annie Petsonk, International Counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund, said while EPA’s findings left the door open for it to propose tighter regulations than the international limits under discussion at ICAO, as aviation was a global industry, the solutions also had to include global action.
“A greenhouse gas efficiency standard for airplanes is a key piece of the cleaner skies puzzle,” she said. “So is an international agreement to cap climate pollution from aviation worldwide. Given the enormous growth slated for this industry, we need both.”
Brussels-based NGO Transport & Environment suggested the US and EU should now step up cooperation at ICAO to ensure an environmentally effective CO2 standard.
“Europe should work with the US to ensure that the ICAO standard, which is in the final stages of development, is greatly improved,” said its Aviation Policy Manager, Bill Hemmings. “If that fails, the EU should join forces with the US to introduce stricter standards for the European and US markets, which together form over half the global total.”
Airline industry trade body Airlines for America (A4A) said it supported ICAO work to develop a CO2 certification standard for new type aircraft but pointed out that US airlines were driving 5% of US economic activity while accounting for only 2% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.
However, A4A warned that the US should not go it alone with a different domestic standard. “Aviation is a global industry, making it critical that aircraft emissions standards continue to be agreed upon at the international level,” said Nancy Young, VP Environmental Affairs. “While we believe that any regulatory action must be consistent with both EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act and the future ICAO standard, today’s action reconfirms the EPA’s commitment to the ICAO process for achieving a global CO2 standard for new aircraft.”
Young noted the US aviation industry had improved fuel efficiency by 120% since 1978 and saved over 3.8 billion tonnes of CO2. Last year, US airlines had carried 20% more passengers and cargo than in 2000 while emitting 8% less CO2, she added.
Leslie Riegle, Director for Environmental Policy at the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), which represents aircraft and engine manufacturers, said the EPA’s action in assessing aircraft GHG emissions had not come as a surprise to the industry. “The EPA has been doing GHG emissions analysis sector by sector since 2007 when the Supreme Court determined that GHG emissions are ‘air pollutants’ under the Clean Air Act,” she said.
“Aerospace manufacturers, along with the rest of the aviation sector, are focused on emissions and fuel efficiency. The sector is also heavily regulated by other environmental regulations and must also comply with stringent aircraft safety and airworthiness requirements.
“Aviation is a critical, global industry that drives economic growth and prosperity. It is requisite that any regulatory action on GHG emissions by the EPA be consistent with the agency’s authority under the Clean Air Act and the ICAO standard.”
Riegle said the AIA would review the EPA proposals and consult with its members before responding during the public comment period, which opens once the ANPR had been published in the Federal Register.
The EPA said the scope of its proposed findings would cover jet aircraft with a maximum take-off mass (MTOM) greater than 5,700kgs – which would include commercial and larger business aircraft – and turboprop aircraft with a MTOM greater than 8,618kgs.
EPA – Aviation
We are all in this together, says IATA chief in call for industry unity over global aviation emissions market measure
Wed 10 Jun 2015 – IATA Director General Tony Tyler told airline industry delegates at this year’s AGM held in Miami that he was confident the ICAO Assembly later next year would prove “another major step forward” towards the implementation of a global market-based measure (GMBM) from 2020. However, he cautioned, the industry had to maintain unity over the issue as there was a common interest in the outcome. The absence of an ICAO global scheme would result in an “untenable web” of local and regional taxes and charges, he said, and added that progress on aviation biofuels was being held back by a lack of government support. IATA forecasts released at the AGM show airlines collectively anticipate emitting 757 million tonnes of CO2 in 2015, up 4.6% on the previous year but is still expected to align with the industry’s annual fuel efficiency improvement goal.
Tyler told the gathering of airline leaders that aviation was at the forefront of industries addressing the challenge of climate change with its targets to improve annual fuel efficiency by 1.5%, achieve carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and cut emissions in half by 2050 compared to 2005 levels through its four-pillar strategy of improved technology, more efficient operations, better infrastructure and an effective GMBM.
“The journey to this point has been challenging,” he admitted. “But we’ve always understood that our common interests and those of the environment are best served by a united industry position.”
However, he added, “Progress on biofuels is being held back because governments have not adopted a policy framework to incentivise production. That’s needed for prices to fall to commercially viable levels.”
He called for more recognition of the fact that many airlines were making significant investments in sustainable biofuels and that governments should step in with aviation specific programmes similar to those designed to encourage the use of other alternative energy sources.
Tyler stated the industry was deeply involved in the ICAO GMBM process and committed to a successful outcome at the 2016 Assembly. “Although the final measure has not been decided, there is considerable interest from governments in the mandatory carbon offset approach,” he said. “It would be the easiest type of scheme to implement and administer on a cost-effective basis. And it has the scope to allow for the different political interests at play to be taken into consideration.
“We are all in this together. We have a common interest in the outcome and we will get the best result for all concerned – including the environment – if we stay together.”
He did not make clear who the unity comment was directed at but IATA’s Director of Aviation Environment, Michael Gill, told FlightGlobal: “The perennial issues of how to determine the obligations that would fall on individual operators in any future MBM scheme and how to reconcile the differing views of developed and developing states, including low-emissions states and emerging markets, remain on the table.”
IATA revealed airlines are expected to use 288 billion litres (76 billion US gallons) of fuel in 2015 and emit 757 million tonnes of carbon in the process. The trade body points out that although this is a 4.6% increase on 2014, it is below the expected 6.7% growth in passenger demand (measured in RPKs) and the 5.5% growth for cargo (FTKs). This is considered in line with the 1.5% fuel efficiency goal, which is currently averaging at 2.9% annually since 2009 according to the industry (see article). With new aircraft a major driver of fuel efficiency improvements, IATA expects airlines to take delivery of more than 1,700 new aircraft in 2015 worth around $180 billion, with about half replacing less efficient older aircraft.
The 6.7% growth in passenger traffic compares with the 6.0% growth recorded in 2014 and passenger numbers are expected to reach 3.5 billion for the first time in 2015. The 5.5% forecasted growth for cargo is down from the 5.8% realised in 2014.
On fuel costs, which IATA says still represents 28% of the industry’s operating cost structure despite the recent heavy fall, the 2015 outlook is for an average Brent crude oil price of $65 per barrel, which is 36% below the 2014 average price of $101.40. Jet fuel prices are expected to decline at a slower rate for a full year price of $78 per barrel, 33% below the $116.60 level of 2014. However, points out IATA, the full impact in the reduction is being moderated by a 20% rise in the value of the US dollar over the past 12 months, as well as by airline hedging policies.
IATA has revised upward its industry outlook and is forecasting a net profit of $29.3 billion for 2015 on expected revenues of $727 billion, a 4.0% net profit margin. Over half the global profit is expected to be generated by airlines based in North America, more than double that of next best performing regions of Asia-Pacific and Europe.
During the AGM, IATA announced an agreement with CITES to cooperate on reducing illegal trade in wildlife and their products, as well as on ensuring the safe and secure transport of legally traded wildlife. CITES – the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora – is a legally binding agreement between 181 states and parties that sets the rules for international wildlife trade in more than 35,000 species of animals and plants.
“CITES and IATA have long cooperated to ensure that legitimately-traded animals and plants are carried as safely and comfortably as possible. This MOU formalises our work programmes,” said Tony Tyler. “The responsibility for enforcement of the rules governing international wildlife trade is clearly with governments. But well-trained airline staff can be an invaluable source of information on suspicious passenger behaviour and unusual shipments. Airlines are good corporate citizens. Our collaboration with CITES will help the industry to play a role in stopping the terrible scourge of illegal trade in wildlife that threatens some of the most precious animal and plant life on our planet.”
Addressing the AGM, John Scanlon, the Secretary-General of CITES, added: “We live in an interconnected world where the great benefits of global air transport are also being abused by criminals to transport illegally traded wildlife. IATA and its member airlines can play a critical role in assisting customs and other enforcement agencies by gathering valuable intelligence of suspicious activities and raising awareness among customers, passengers, and staff of the devastating impacts of this illegal trade.
“Today we are confronted by transnational organised criminals, and in some cases rebel militia and rouge elements of the military, which are driving industrial scale poaching and illegal trade for illicit off-shore markets. The profound impact this poaching and illegal trade is having upon entire species and ecosystems and the services they provide, local peoples and their livelihoods, national economies, and national and regional security is now increasingly well recognised.”
Next year’s AGM will be held in Dublin.
IATA AGM Newsroom
NATS records over 600,000 tonnes of carbon reductions in 2014 as it strives towards 2020 target
Fri 5 Jun 2015 – The UK’s air navigation services provider NATS reports that it enabled savings of more than 600,000 tonnes of CO2 during the course of its 2014-15 financial year, its best ever annual performance. The ANSP says this was achieved through more efficient air traffic control procedures, improved use of airspace and innovative technology, including the increased use of continuous descent operations (CDOs) at UK airports. In 2008, NATS became the industry’s first ANSP to set itself environmental targets within its airspace and aims to reduce average ATM-related CO2 emissions per flight by 10 per cent by 2020 compared to flights in 2006. According to its latest Corporate Responsibility report, last year the company managed to reduce emissions per flight by 4.3 per cent, beating the 4 per cent target it set itself for 2014. However, NATS narrowly missed its annual 3Di airspace efficiency metric target.
“As more people choose to fly, it is NATS’ responsibility to keep the UK’s skies safe, while doing all we can to minimise air traffic management (ATM) related CO2 emissions and disturbance to local communities near airports,” says new CEO Martin Rolfe in the introduction to the report.
Despite being almost half way to NATS’ 2020 emissions target, he says the next half will be far more challenging as “the low hanging fruit has been picked.”
The report highlights that over 300 airspace and procedural changes have been made over the past six years in efforts to find more efficient routes for airlines, which has resulted in CO2 reductions of over 1 million tonnes and fuel savings worth £155 million ($236m). For example, more flexible use of military airspace when not in use has enabled CO2 reductions of 30,000 tonnes. The introduction of a tool called GAATS+ that allows controllers to offer airlines the most efficient altitudes across the North Atlantic has resulted in further reductions of over 110,000 tonnes of CO2.
Last year, NATS became the first ANSP to adopt the use of near real-time airspace efficiency monitoring using an in-house developed tool called Flight Optimisation System, or FLOSYS. The tool uses real radar data and combines it with the 3Di airspace efficiency metric to produce a graphical representation of every flight in UK airspace, which allows controllers to immediately review performance and identify areas for improvement or best practice techniques to share.
During the year, NATS also led the launch of a campaign by the Sustainable Aviation industry coalition to monitor and increase the use of CDOs, an aircraft descent technique that reduces noise and emissions, and NATS is now providing CDO performance information to 23 UK airports and eight airlines. The campaign aims to achieve a 5% increase in CDOs across the UK, deliver over 39,000 individual quieter arrivals and a reduction of around 10,000 tonnes of CO2.
Developed in conjunction with the UK CAA, 3Di is an indicator of fuel efficiency for flight profiles flown within UK FIR airspace and every commercial flight has a specific score calculated – the lower the score, the more efficient the flight. Each year all the scores are combined to give a single annual average score and compared to targets set by the CAA. For the first two years it has been in operation – 2012 and 2013 – the target score has been 24.0 and NATS achieved scores of 23.9 and 23.7 respectively, so beating the target. For 2014, the CAA tightened the target to 23.0 and although lower than the previous two years, NATS’ score of 23.2 narrowly missed the new target but was within what is termed the ‘deadband’.
NATS’ Head of Environmental and Community Affairs Ian Jopson said it had been “a fantastic year in reducing CO2 emissions and enabling fuel savings” and pointed to awards the company had received for its programmes.
NATS also reports that energy and water consumption were reduced at its UK sites in 2014, with only 1% of waste going to landfill. It continues to support the Swanwick Lakes Nature Reserve and last year was awarded the Biodiversity Benchmark by the Wildlife Trust for its work in managing the reserve.
NATS – Environment