ICAO CO2 emissions standard was a factor in the decision to favour the all-new Bombardier C Series, says Delta
CS100 aircraft in Delta livery (photo: Bombardier)
Wed 4 May 2016 – Last week’s announcement that a major US airline, Delta, had ordered C Series aircraft from Canadian manufacturer Bombardier was a shot in the arm for the troubled and much-delayed all-new aircraft programme. The deal was also a boost for the aircraft CO2 emissions standard proposed by ICAO’s environmental technical committee in February, which has come in for criticism from certain quarters for being unambitious. Delta’s SVP for supply chain maintenance and fleet strategy, Greg May, said the decision to purchase 75 short- to mid-range CS100 aircraft with options for an additional 50 had been partly influenced by the introduction of the new standard. Bombardier claims the C Series, which is powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1500G engine will deliver a 20% savings in fuel and CO2 emissions compared to existing in-production rivals and will be the quietest commercial jet aircraft in its class.
The entirely new C Series, which comprises the CS100 and larger CS300, has been designed specifically for the 100- to 150-seat single-aisle market. Extensive use has been made of advanced aluminium in the aircraft’s fuselage and advanced composites in its wings, empennage and rear fuselage to reduce weight that results in a considerable fuel burn advantage, says Bombardier. Its superior noise performance and short-field capability will make it ideal for varied types of operations such as at urban and noise-sensitive airports, suggests the manufacturer, with a noise footprint up to four times smaller than that of comparable in-production aircraft. It is also expected to emit 50% fewer NOx emissions than the ICAO CAEP6 NOx emission standards.
Speaking to journalists at Delta’s recent Media Day about the influence the ICAO CO2 standard had on the C Series purchase, May said: “It’s definitely a consideration. It’s not the deciding factor, but we’re always monitoring our entire fleet for emissions, noise and environmental friendliness.”
In its latest published corporate responsibility report (see article), Delta recorded a 1.93% improvement in fuel efficiency over the previous year, exceeding IATA’s 1.5% goal but the average since 2009 has been 1.23%, although the total carbon footprint has decreased by 16% since 2005. The airline, the second-biggest US carrier by traffic, reported total emissions began increasing in 2013 and pledged to align itself with the IATA target through the introduction of new, more efficient aircraft from 2015 onwards and other measures such as the installation of wing-tip devices.
The US aviation industry, meanwhile, is awaiting the outcome of a ruling by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on regulating emissions from commercial aircraft. Environmental groups have recently taken legal steps to force the EPA to act, which has itself been working with the FAA on the CO2 standard at ICAO (see article). Some observers believe the EPA could decide to impose a tougher stringency than that reached by ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP).
The standard is expected to be formally adopted by ICAO’s governing Council shortly. Under the CAEP recommendation, the standard would apply to new aircraft type designs as of 2020 and new deliveries of current in-production aircraft types from 2023.