GREENAIR NEWSLETTER 17 FEBRUARY 2016
This is a text-only version. If you would like to see the full version of any article with images, videos, graphs, tables, related articles, comments, etc, then click on the headline of the article.
Eyes of the world on airlines and ICAO to drive substantial progress on reducing emissions, says UN’s Ban Ki-moon
Wed 17 Feb 2016 – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has praised ICAO efforts in proposing a CO2 standard for aircraft and urged Member States to endorse it without delay. The eyes of the world were on the aviation sector to drive substantial, concrete progress on reducing emissions, he said in a speech to ICAO’s governing Council in Montreal. He added he was confident that governments would agree at the ICAO Assembly in the autumn a market-based approach to neutralising the growth of aviation CO2. Council members are currently studying new draft proposals for a global market-based measure (GMBM) put forward by the ICAO Council President, Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, who is putting together a new High-level Group to oversee the process. Meanwhile, airline industry chief Willie Walsh told a conference this week the global scheme was “a once in a generation opportunity.”
The UN Secretary-General was in Montreal as the two-week triennial session of ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP/10) drew to a close last week with an agreement on a proposed fuel efficiency standard for new aircraft type designs delivered after 2020 and in-production aircraft from 2023 (see article). The proposal is likely to go before the Council at its next session in June, followed by consultation with Member States before it is formerly adopted.
“After years of negotiations, these proposed rules will be the first time governments have set limits on carbon emissions for the aviation sector,” Ban told the 36-member Council meeting. “They build on the strong momentum coming from Paris. I urge all ICAO members to endorse them as soon as possible.”
He said if airlines were a country, they would be the seventh largest creator of emissions in the world. “And emissions from aviation are growing rapidly, with the number of flights worldwide expected to double in the next 15 years,” he added.
“We need more sustainable energy alternatives to fossil fuels. Airlines must increase their use of energy-efficient technology. Airport buildings and transport infrastructure all over the world must be sustainable and climate-friendly. Cohesive international action will be key to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and limiting climate change. ICAO is showing the way.”
Responding, Dr Aliu said ICAO was “grateful to share updates with Mr Ban on our work to encourage commitments for aviation system modernisation, and for minimising the impact of aviation on the environment. These will be essential to how sustainably our sector manages future growth. Mr Ban’s visit, coming on the heels of a very successful COP21 in Paris, also adds further impetus to the important environmental progress now being forged through ICAO.”
The new High-level Group (HLG) of senior aviation and/or transport representatives from selected Council Member States in essence replaces the larger 17-member Environmental Advisory Group appointed in early 2014 to oversee and coordinate the work on developing proposals for a GMBM scheme.
The HLG is due to meet for the first time next week (Feb 24-25) to consider the latest proposals for the scheme that could see a phased-in, two-stage (years 2021 and 2026) implementation approach to accommodate the special circumstances of developing States.
It would also be limited to aircraft operators emitting more than 10,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year from international aviation and with aircraft above 5,700kg MTOM. It would exempt humanitarian, medical and firefighting operations and exemptions would also apply to new entrants for five years.
The scheme, which is described by both ICAO and industry as a temporary “gap filler” until advances in technology, operations and sustainable alternative fuels have proved sufficient in meeting the carbon-neutral growth goal, would apply until the end of 2035, although it would be reviewed every three years.
Speaking at a recent press briefing, IATA Vice President Paul Steele said the Paris Agreement had significant implications for the ICAO negotiations as all States, both developed and developing, had agreed to act in mitigating their greenhouse gas emissions, which he believed would translate into concerted action at ICAO on the GMBM. It had also provided clarity on the future of carbon markets that would help the carbon offset-based scheme, he said.
“There is also the moral persuasion in that those States who agreed to take action on climate change in Paris would find it difficult to do nothing in ICAO,” said Steele, who is confident an agreement will be reached at the Assembly. “There is no choice. It will still need a lot of political will but States will be coming to ICAO in September with the aim to make this happen.”
Willie Walsh, Chief Executive of the International Airlines Group (IAG), told a conference in Singapore on Monday that a global deal on aviation emissions was the only way the industry could continue to grow sustainably to meet demand.
“This is a once in a generation opportunity to develop an effective global scheme,” he said. “We must grasp the opportunity now.”
He said the GMBM would incentivise the industry to reduce its reliance on carbon fuels but called on governments to support sustainable jet fuel initiatives and R&D in the same way as they do for cars.
Walsh announced IAG would be the first airline group – which includes British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling – to set its own carbon emissions targets and pledged carbon efficiency would improve from 95.4g of CO2 per passenger km in 2015 to 87.3 by 2020.
United Nations – Ban Ki-moon’s speech to ICAO , ICAO – Ban Ki-moon’s visit , World Bank – GNI per capita classifications , World Bank – GNI per capita 2014 , ICAO – International RTKs and % share by State 2012 , IAG – press release on Willie Walsh GMBM call
ICAO takes significant step on efficiency targets for aircraft with agreement on CO2 emissions standard
Mon 8 Feb 2016 – After six years of development, a new aircraft CO2 emissions standard has been agreed by ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP), the first-ever to impose binding energy efficiency and CO2 reduction targets for the aviation sector. The environmental measure was, according to ICAO, unanimously recommended by the 170 international experts on CAEP and will now pass for adoption by ICAO’s governing Council. The UN agency says that under the recommendation the standard would apply to both new aircraft type designs as of 2020 and new deliveries of current in-production aircraft types from 2023. A cut-off date of 2028 for production of aircraft that do not comply with the standard was also recommended. The standard is the first of two major decisions to be taken by the Organisation this year on ways to tackle the sector’s growing carbon missions, with agreement on a global market-based measure the next challenge.
“It is particularly encouraging that CAEP’s recommendation today responds so directly to the aircraft technology improvements which States have forged consensus on at recent ICAO Assemblies,” commented Dr Olumuwiya Benard Aliu, President of the ICAO Council. “Every step taken in support of ICAO’s full basket of measures for environmental improvement is an important one, and I am sure the Council will be deeply appreciative of this latest CAEP achievement.”
ICAO says the standard as proposed will be especially stringent for larger aircraft where it will have the greatest impact, such as those manufactured by Boeing and Airbus. Operations of aircraft with a maximum take-off mass (MTOM) of over 60 tonnes account for more than 90% of international aviation emissions, it points out, yet also have access to the broadest range of emissions reduction technologies, as recognised by the standard. However, it adds, the standard also covers the full range of sizes and types of aircraft used today and therefore encompasses all technological feasibility, emissions reduction potential and cost considerations.
Debate will now focus on the stringency of the standard and whether it will have the effect of driving down emissions further than business-as-usual, and initial opinion appears divided.
“The goal of this process is ultimately to ensure that when the next generation of aircraft types enter service, there will be guaranteed reductions in international CO2 emissions,” assured Dr Aliu.
According to preliminary analysis by US-based International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) on the CAEP recommendation, the standards will on average require a 4% reduction in the cruise fuel consumption of new aircraft starting in 2028 compared to 2015 deliveries, with the actual reductions ranging from 0 to 11%, depending on the MTOM of the aircraft. On average, it considers larger commercial aircraft would be expected to comply with the standard starting in 2017.
“ICAO agreed in 2011 that the standard had had to reduce emissions. And yet the proposal will only require CO2 reductions from new aircraft of 4% over 12 years, when market forces alone are predicted to achieve more than a 10% efficiency gain in the same time frame. This is an anti-backsliding standard,” believes ICCT Executive Director Drew Kodjak.
However, added Kodjak, “At the end of the day, we do now have a CO2 standard for aircraft. We can build on this agreement.” He suggested a ratcheting mechanism similar to the Paris climate agreement reached in December and a revisiting of the standard by the next major CAEP meeting in 2019.
US NGO Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) said while the standard appeared to be ambitious as it applied to new types of large aircraft, its application to aircraft already being manufactured was less so. “The technical committee has called for a review, to be concluded by 2019, which could be an opportunity to increase the ambition of the standard as it applies to these aircraft,” said EDF’s International Counsel, Annie Petsonk. “In the meantime, industry should aim to improve the efficiency of aircraft coming off production lines – starting now.”
By contrast, the industry hailed the standard as “rigorous and challenging” and said the CAEP agreement was a significant step towards the sector’s long-term 2050 goal to halve aviation emissions, and would provide “much-needed” momentum ahead of the decision by ICAO States on the global market-based measure.
“The CO2 standard mandates what were previously voluntary actions by aircraft and engine manufacturers, based on the demands of their airline customers,” commented Michael Gill, Executive Director of the industry coalition Air Transport Action Group (ATAG). “Aviation has always had a focus on efficiency. A flight taken today will produce on average half the CO2 produced by the same flight in 1990. This has been made possible through a range of climate actions, including new technology; better operation of existing aircraft; and improvements in infrastructure.
“New technology aircraft can provide significant savings in CO2 as they enter the world airline fleet. In fact, efficiency is often the key competitive differentiator for manufacturers. They currently spend around $15 billion per year on efficiency research and development. This standard places an obligation on the manufacturers, and the market-based measure will do the same thing for airlines and other operators.
“Air transport must support the sustainable development of economies whilst also dealing with our climate change responsibility. The step taken today and the global market-based measure we hope will be agreed at the ICAO Assembly in September will enable that to happen.”
ICAO press release on CO2 standard
Updates: February 9 & 12
Further reaction to CO2 standard agreement:
A fact sheet released by the White House estimated more than 650 million tons of aviation CO2 would be saved between 2020 and 2040 as a result of the standard, the equivalent of removing over 140 million cars from the road for a year. It said the stringency options (see article) for new and in-production commercial airplanes were finalised in the upper end of the range for large aircraft at SO8.5 and SO7 (SO10 being the most stringent level), which was in line with what the US had proposed. The White House said the CAEP agreement was “an important signal that the international community is well-positioned to rise to the challenge of implementing a global market-based approach to reduce aviation emissions later this year.” The MBM, it said, had the potential to offset several gigatons of carbon through until 2035.
Welcoming the CO2 standard, EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: “This agreement is an important step to curb aviation emissions. An ambitious climate policy is an integral part of the Commission’s plan to create an Energy Union, and a priority of the new Aviation Strategy. The EU played a central role in brokering this deal, as it did at the COP21 in Paris. I hope this will create further momentum for the creation of a Global Market-Based Measure to offset CO2 emissions from international aviation, which we hope to achieve this autumn at the ICAO General Assembly.”
Aircraft manufacturer Boeing commended ICAO CAEP for the agreement and said it was fully committed to meeting the new standard. “We believe the standard will have the intended results of ensuring older aircraft are replaced by newer, more efficient aircraft that will further reduce fuel use and carbon emissions,” it said in a statement. “The new standard is ambitious and will become part of the certification process applied to every airplane before delivery based on the ICAO schedule. We have made significant investments to improve the efficiency and environmental performance of our products and will continue to do so. Environmental goals are aligned with our business goals, as greater fuel efficiency and lower emissions are top priorities for our commercial customers. Our new commercial airplanes have been designed to meet and even exceed challenging emission requirements.”
Rival Airbus also commended the achievement, saying it had invested significantly in improving the environmental performance of its sites, products and services, “consistently bringing the most eco-efficient aircraft to the market, meeting and surpassing environmental performance requirements.” It added in a statement: “Airbus will continually strive to meet and exceed ambitious emissions requirements for both current and future aircraft.”
IATA said when the standard comes into force from 2020 it will ensure CO2 emissions from new aircraft will have to meet a minimum baseline defined as a maximum fuel burn per flight kilometre which must not be exceeded. From 2023 this will also apply to existing aircraft designs still in manufacture at that date. IATA Director General Tony Tyler described the agreement as “a vital and very welcome development.” He said it would not solve aviation's climate challenge alone, “but it is an important element in our comprehensive strategy for tackling carbon emissions.”
He added: “The next milestone will be the implementation of a market-based measure to address CO2 emissions, which we hope to see agreed at the ICAO Assembly in September. Our shared industry goals are for carbon-neutral growth from 2020, and for a 50% cut in CO2 emissions by 2050. This CO2 standard is a significant milestone towards those targets, and proves that the industry and the world’s governments are working together to find a sustainable future for aviation.”
“I am pleased that ICAO reached an international consensus on a meaningful standard to foster reduction in CO2 emissions from aircraft,” said Michael Huerta, FAA Administrator. “We are encouraged by this success and believe it puts us on a promising path to secure a robust market-based measure later this year. This is another example of the administration's deep commitment to working with the international community on policies that will reduce harmful carbon pollution worldwide.
“The US prides itself on making progress in all areas of ICAO’s agreed-upon 'basket of measures' to address aviation greenhouse gas emissions. This includes the development of new airframe and engine technologies, aircraft operational improvements, sustainable, alternative fuels, and a global market-based measure as a gap-filler. Since the 2013 ICAO Assembly, we have continued to work within ICAO to take a holistic approach to addressing aviation’s contribution to climate change. We, along with other Member States, continue to believe that addressing the entire basket of measures is the most effective way for international aviation to reduce its carbon footprint.”
The agreement to recommend standards applicable to the future production of existing-type aircraft added to the significance of the CAEP decision, given that CAEP had only committed to a standard for new-type aircraft in the discussions leading up to the meeting, commented trade association Airlines for America (A4A).
It said the recommended standards for large aircraft were among the most aggressive under consideration, whereas lower levels of stringency were recommended for smaller aircraft, “recognising that flight physics complicate the adoption of certain of the more effective fuel-efficiency technologies into such aircraft.”
Said Nancy Young, A4A VP Environmental Affairs: “While the U.S. airlines account for only 2% of the nation’s man-made greenhouse gas emissions, we strongly support the aircraft CO2 standards put forth by CAEP, as they will further support our global aviation coalition’s emissions goals to achieve 1.5% annual average fuel efficiency improvements through 2020 and carbon neutral growth from 2020, subject to critical aviation infrastructure and technology advances achieved by government and industry.”
A4A pointed out that CAEP also recommended a particulate matter standard for new aircraft engines, which transitions the current smoke standard to a standard that also reflects non-volatile particular matter emissions controls. “The smoke standard has been overwhelmingly successful, resulting in the virtual elimination of smoke emissions from aircraft,” Young said. “By transitioning the smoke standard as proposed, we can build on that success to focus further on non-visible particulate matter emissions.”
European NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) was highly critical of the CO2 standard recommendation, saying it was unlikely to have any positive climate impact and had fallen victim to commercial pressures by “the Airbus-Boeing duopoly”. It argued that market forces alone would have required a better fuel performance than the standard specifies by the time the first new aircraft types fly in 2024.
Variants of in-production single-aisle aircraft (Airbus Neo and Boeing MAX) now coming on the market that will dominate deliveries for the next generation would easily comply with a higher stringency than that now set for such aircraft by ICAO, believes T&E.
“Reducing aviation emissions is critical to the industry’s environmental sustainability, but the commercial interests of companies like Airbus have been put way before environmental considerations,” said T&E Aviation Director Bill Hemmings. “The outcome also reflects poorly on the European experts and their governments just weeks after the Paris climate deal agreed on the urgent need for greater ambition.”
EasyJet designs new green aircraft taxiing system based on zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell technology
Mon 8 Feb 2016 – Low-cost carrier easyJet is to develop and trial an onboard hydrogen fuel system that would enable it to be used for zero-emissions aircraft taxiing operations. The hybrid plane concept utilises a hydrogen fuel cell stowed in the aircraft’s hold and the system allows energy to be captured as the aircraft brakes on landing, which is then used to charge lightweight batteries when the aircraft is on the ground. The airline says ground taxiing is responsible for around 4% of its total annual fuel consumption due to its high frequency, short sector length operations. Following ideas from Cranfield University students on what air travel may look like in the future, the concept has been designed by easyJet’s engineering team, which will now work with industry partners and suppliers towards setting a trial to take place later this year.
The inspiration for the concept draws on the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) found in Formula 1 cars, explains the airline. Each aircraft would have motors in their main wheels, and electronics and system controllers would give pilots control of the aircraft’s speed, direction and braking during taxi operations. This would reduce, if not remove altogether, the need for tugs to manoeuvre aircraft in and out of stands, so delivering more efficient turnaround times and increased on-time performance.
The airline points out that its aircraft average 20 minutes of taxi time per flight and equivalent to covering 4 million miles a year, roughly to the moon and back eight times. By using the system, easyJet estimates 50,000 tonnes of fuel and the associated CO2 emissions could be saved annually.
The only waste product from the system is fresh clean water which easyJet says could be used to refill the aircraft’s water system throughout the flight.
The airline has a track record in developing concepts and new technologies for aircraft. In 2007 it unveiled the EcoJet, which featured two rear-mounted open rotor engines, and claimed to be 50% more fuel efficient and 25% quieter than aircraft such as the Airbus A320 or Boeing 737. The airline hoped at the time the aircraft could be in operation by 2015. Then in 2010 it announced it was to trial a volcanic ash detection system involving infra-red technology that would allow aircraft to fly safely around ash clouds. This time the AVOID technology was subsequently deemed a success and was due to enter production by two suppliers.
“At easyJet, we are continuing to apply the use of new digital and engineering technologies across the airline,” said Head of Engineering, Ian Davies. “The hybrid plane concept is both a vision of the future and a challenge to our partners and suppliers to continue to push the boundaries towards reducing our carbon emissions.”
EasyJet has been looking at green taxiing solutions for a number of years and in February 2012 announced it would support Safran and Honeywell in the development of the joint venture’s electric green taxiing system (EGTS). Asked to comment on its current involvement with the ongoing project, a spokesman for easyJet told GreenAir: “EGTS is available and is something we have supported.”
However, the EGTS uses the aircraft’s Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) to power motors on the main wheels – another system being developed by WheelTug uses the APU to drive a nosewheel-mounted motor instead – and easyJet says this requires an upgrade to the APU.
“Using a hydrogen fuel cell to power the taxiing system does not and therefore become viable,” he said. “We believe this will be cost-effective to implement and run.”
Last year easyJet signed a three-year strategic partnership agreement to share innovation and knowledge with Cranfield University, which will continue to work with the airline on the hybrid plane concept. As part of easyJet’s 20th birthday activities, Cranfield students were asked to take part in a competition to develop ideas for what air travel might look like in another 20 years’ time.
“Our students have showcased some exciting ideas for the 2035 vision of the airline industry through The Future of Flight competition, presenting environmental solutions, operational improvements and ideas to enhance the customer experience,” said Dr Craig Lawson, Lecturer at Cranfield’s Centre for Aeronautics. “We’re looking forward to developing this concept further.”
The easyJet spokesman said the first step was to develop a working group consisting of Cranfield and suppliers. “Ultimately, our goal is to develop a mock-up and a working example in the coming months.”
The airline has set new emissions targets for 2020 that include a 7% reduction in its carbon footprint over the next five years compared to today, which stands at 81.05 grams CO2 per passenger kilometre, itself a decrease of 28% over the last 15 years. It claims an easyJet passenger’s carbon footprint is 22% less than a passenger on a traditional airline, flying the same aircraft on the same route.
EasyJet – Corporate Responsibility , Cranfield University Centre for Aeronautics
After a decade of little growth, European aviation emissions expected to grow significantly by 2035
Fri 5 Feb 2016 – After a ten-year period of largely static growth in CO2 emissions from European aviation, forecasts suggest future technological and operational gains will not be enough to prevent a significant increase in emissions over the next 20 years as a result of an expected 45% increase in the number of flights. According to the first European Aviation Environmental Report published by the European Commission, aviation CO2 emissions increased from 144 million tonnes (Mt) in 2005 to 151 Mt in 2014, a rise of just 5%, as a result of technological and ATM improvements, fleet renewal and the 2008 economic downturn. Jet aircraft noise levels have generally reduced by about 4 decibels per decade but progress has recently slowed to about 2 decibels per decade. However, the report finds noise energy and emissions will grow slower than passenger kilometres out to 2035.
In 2012, aviation represented 13% of all EU transport CO2 emissions and 3% of the EU total output, and also made up 22% of global aviation CO2 emissions. Similarly, the sector now comprises 14% of all EU transport NOx emissions and 7% of the EU overall total. In absolute terms, NOx emissions have doubled since 1990 as the number of flights has increased by 80%, and their relative share has quadrupled as other economic sectors have achieved significant reductions.
Announcing the report, EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said: “Aviation brings significant economic and social benefits to Europe, but also has an impact on the environment. The Aviation Strategy we adopted in December recognises the future competitiveness of air transport goes hand in hand with its sustainability. This report will be instrumental to frame future policy.”
The number of European flights in 2014 was lower than the peak in 2008, with the economic downturn leading to 2009 seeing the largest annual fall in flights of recent decades. As of 2014, the number of scheduled and charter passenger flights had recovered to 2005 levels. However, passenger numbers have recovered much more quickly and the average number of passengers per flight has increased from 87 in 2005 to 113 in 2014.
This is in part due to a trend towards longer flights and larger aircraft, and coupled with higher load factors has led to a reduction in fuel burn per passenger kilometre flown by 19% between 2005 and 2014. By 2035, the reduction over 2005 levels could amount to between 43% and 46%, depending on technology advances. However, absolute CO2 emissions are forecast to grow during the same 2005-2035 period by between 44% and 53% to 207-219 Mt, with similar percentage increases for NOx. Between 1990 and 2005, EU and EFTA data reported to the UNFCCC showed aircraft CO2 emissions rose from 88 Mt to 156 Mt, an increase of 77%.
Aircraft emissions of unburnt hydrocarbons, CO and non-volatile particulates (PM) decreased between 2005 and 2014, while full-flight emissions of volatile PM increased by 7%. However, the total emissions of each of these pollutants are expected to increase over the next 20 years.
One outcome of the slower growth has seen the mean aircraft age of the European aircraft fleet creep up from 9.6 years in 2005 to 10.3 years in 2014. Only 2009 and 2010 saw reductions, driven by a rapid expansion of the low-cost airlines, which tend to have younger than average aircraft, and the retirement of older, more inefficient aircraft by the traditional scheduled operators responding to higher fuel prices and falling demand. As low-cost carrier growth then slowed and with limited fleet renewal elsewhere, the fleet began to age again.
The report reveals that the reduced scope of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), which currently limits aviation coverage to intra-European flights while a global solution market-based solution is negotiated at ICAO, is likely to contribute around 65 Mt of aviation CO2 emission reductions between 2013 and 2016, an average of 16 Mt per year.
Noting the ICAO discussions, Bulc said that during the year ahead, “the EU will reach out to its partners to take global and ambitious steps” on measures to reduce emissions from aviation.
The report includes a downbeat current assessment of sustainable alternative fuels, which it says that although they are still in infancy and will likely play a large role in reducing aviation emissions and improving local air quality in the coming decades, there has been a “very slow” uptake. It sees regular production of such fuels to be very limited in the next few years and the European Advanced Biofuels Flightpath target of 2.06 Mt (600 million gallons) of sustainable biofuels for civil aviation annually by 2020 is unlikely to be achieved. It blames competition in demand for these fuels from other transport sectors, where incentives are already in place, access to low-cost feedstocks and the high capital investment requirement.
On aircraft noise, the report says about 2.5 million people were exposed to significant noise at 45 major European airports in 2014, and this is forecast to increase by 15% between 2014 and 2035. While acknowledging that this has led to some public protests and political pressure at local and national levels, it says a regulatory framework and airport initiatives have been put in place to deal with the issue. However, it expects by 2035, in the absence of continuing efforts, some 20 major European airports to face significant congestion and related environmental impacts.
Finally, a warning is issued to the European aviation sector to expect operational impacts as a result of climate change, with the potential for more frequent and more adverse weather disruption, as well as sea-level rise.
The report was prepared by the Commission in collaboration with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the European Environment Agency and Eurocontrol.
European Aviation Environment Report 2016 (pdf)
Fuel efficiency improvement by Emirates passenger fleet stalls due to airspace and runway closures
Wed 3 Feb 2016 – The overall fuel efficiency of Gulf carrier Emirates improved by a modest 1.0 per cent in the year to 31 March 2015, although the performance of its passenger operations showed no gain on the previous year despite the addition of new aircraft to the fleet and the retirement of older planes. At 75 months (6.25 years), the average age of the fleet remains as one of the youngest in the industry. According to the Emirates Group’s latest environmental report just published, this was due to the impact of airspace closures caused by security concerns in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Ukraine, which necessitated longer routings to avoid these areas, and an 80-day runway closure at its Dubai hub that meant aircraft having to carry more contingency fuel. With the addition of strong network growth, fuel consumption and carbon emissions were up 10.2 per cent on the previous year to around 9 million tonnes and 28 million tonnes respectively.
Passenger fuel efficiency for the 2014-15 financial year was 3.99 litres per 100 passenger-kilometres, the same as the previous year, with the fuel efficiency for the freighter fleet improving by 4.2% to 0.182 litres per freight-tonne-kilometre to produce a combined efficiency of 0.3057 litres per tonne-kilometre. This, says Emirates, still makes it 14% more efficient than the IATA fleet average fuel efficiency.
During the year, 12 new Airbus A380-800 and 10 B777-300ER passenger aircraft, plus two new Boeing 777-200LRF freighters, entered the fleet. Those retired were 10 Airbus A340-500 and Boeing 777-200 aircraft, leaving the airline with a total fleet of 232 aircraft.
The airline says that despite a 15% reduction in the average price it paid for jet fuel compared to the previous year, the $7.8 billion spent on jet fuel remained its single largest area of expenditure, making up 34.6% of total operating costs. Fuel efficiency measures, therefore, can make a significant impact on the bottom line as well as helping to reduce emissions, says the report.
Among the efforts undertaken to improve efficiencies include working with aviation authorities and air traffic control organisations around the world to test and validate new fuel-saving flight procedures, such as performance-based navigation (PBN). The airline is also participating in the Indian Ocean Strategic Partnership to Reduce Emissions (INSPIRE). On the ground, it reports operational measures such as idle reverse thrust saved 4,059 tonnes of fuel in 2014-15, equivalent to 12,786 tonnes of CO2, while shutting down one engine while taxiing saved 2,093 tonnes of fuel, or 6,593 tonnes of CO2.
Emirates also reports on its local air quality emissions from its aircraft below 3,000 feet using ICAO’s landing/take-off (LTO) cycle, in particular oxides of nitrogen (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO) and unburnt hydrocarbons (UHC). NOx, CO and UHC emissions increased by 6.7%, 10.8% and 13.4% respectively, in line with growth in the fleet and network but well below regulatory limits, it says. The airline notes that UHC and CO emissions grew at a higher rate than CO2 emissions because the increase in cruise fuel efficiency in newer engines comes with a trade-off of higher UHC and CO emissions during the LTO cycle but are minimal in the cruise phase of flight.
On noise, Emirates says that apart from two wet-leased freighters, all its fleet meet or exceed ICAO Chapter 4 noise standards, the most stringent for aircraft currently in operation. Its exclusive A380 operations at Heathrow has led to a high ranking in that airport’s Fly Quiet Programme, reports the airline.
The Emirates Group also includes air services company Dnata and has substantial ground-based operations in Dubai and many other countries around the world. The ground vehicle and equipment fleet increased from 4,680 vehicles in 2013-14 to 4,812 in 2014-15, resulting in an overall rise in fuel consumption of 4.4% in Dubai and 0.4% worldwide.
One factor contributing to the increase in petrol consumption relative to diesel was the replacement last year of 4.2-litre diesel buses with 2.8-litre petrol buses for airside crew transfers, which also helped to reduce ground emissions by 70g CO2 per km. As a result of a change in government regulations and mandatory new fuel specifications, the ground transport fleet in the UAE began using low-sulphur diesel that will greatly reduce levels of particulate emissions, says the Group. In Dubai, Dnata took delivery of 30 new electric tractors to replace diesel-powered vehicles.
As a result of a number of energy and water efficiency initiatives, the Group recorded substantial falls in electricity and water consumption at its facilities. On a per head of staff basis, electricity consumption fell by over 20% and water by a third.
“As the scale of our operations expands, we are ever more conscious of our responsibility towards the environment and communities we serve. We are aware that our efforts to reduce resource use will not only reduce our environmental impact, but will also help build our business resilience,” said Emirates Airline and Group CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
“Our annual environmental report is a report card, and also a commitment to continuously improve our environmental performance.”
Emirates Group 5th Annual Environmental Report