Wed 24 Feb 2010 – Data compiled by consultants RDC Aviation show that CO2 emissions from flights by scheduled airlines that fall within the scope of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) fell by 6.85 percent in 2009 compared to the previous year. All but five of the top 30 airlines with the highest CO2 outputs showed a decline in emissions, with Lufthansa overtaking British Airways as Europe’s highest airline emitter of aviation CO2. As would be expected, CO2 emissions from aircraft also declined at European airports, by 7.12 percent, with heaviest falls at Stockholm-Arlanda and Dublin. Annual figures from the Association of European Airlines, ACI Europe and Eurocontrol confirm steep declines in passengers, cargo and flights in 2009.
The CO2 emissions data is not actual reporting by the airlines and airports, and should be treated as estimates, but has been compiled by RDC using methodology for calculating fuel burn and conversion factors as directed by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change and ratified using RDC proprietary systems. Schedule feeds are taken from Innovata, which, in association with IATA, markets the Schedule Reference Service to the aviation industry that includes a database containing over 99% of all flight schedules worldwide. RDC has been compiling aviation CO2 emissions data for over 10 years.
According to the data, although Lufthansa’s total CO2 emissions for 2009 fell by 3.34% compared to 2008, it was a smaller fall than that experienced by British Airways, which saw emissions drop from just over 20 million tonnes in 2008 to just under 19 million in 2009 (-5.47%).
The heaviest falls experienced by European airlines were those of ailing Alitalia and SAS (21.40% and 20.62% respectively). Delta Airlines showed a decline of 21.48% in emissions on flights to and from Europe, with US rivals American and Continental posting double-digit drops.
Qantas Airways (-15.72%) and Singapore Airlines (-23.90%), both now operators of A380 superjumbo aircraft to Europe, had steep decreases in CO2 emissions during 2009 to and from European destinations.
Amongst those airlines estimated to have increased their emissions in 2009 were easyJet (+1.92%), airberlin (+7.43%), Emirates (+3.21%), Cathay Pacific (3.48%), Air Canada (+2.12%) and Vueling Airlines with a steep rise of 25.08% on the previous year. Barcelona-based Vueling describes itself as one of Europe’s fastest growing airlines.
All but two – Tenerife and Las Palmas – of the top 30 European airports in terms of scheduled airline CO2 emissions showed a decline. London Heathrow handles by far the highest amount of traffic that will eventually be covered by the EU ETS, followed by Frankfurt and Paris Charles De Gaulle.
The Association of European Airlines (AEA) reports a decrease in passenger-kilometres of 4.5% in 2009 over the previous year and an even greater fall of 5.8% in the number of passengers boarded, from 346 million to just below 326 million. The 20 million drop far surpasses the previous highest annual loss, 14 million in 2002, the year following 9/11. Load factors, a measure of airline passenger per km efficiency, decreased slightly by 0.3 points to 76.0%, although there was an improvement from mid-year onwards. The airfreight market fell even more sharply during 2009, recording a decrease of 16.5% in total freight tonne-kms.
Figures just released by ACI Europe broadly match those reported by the AEA, with overall passenger traffic at European airports for 2009 falling by 5.9% compared to 2008. Air traffic movements decreased by 7.5% and freight tonnage declined by 13.1%. ACI says 86% of reporting airports lost traffic during 2009.
Eurocontrol says the total number of flights in Europe was 9.4 million in 2009, a decrease of 6.6% compared to 2008, representing the largest annual decline on record. Traffic fell more severely in the first half of 2009 than in the second half, -8.6% and -4.8% respectively.
Among the busiest States, UK, Spain and the Netherlands recorded decreases of around 10% compared to 2008. All market segments shrank, with business aviation, all-cargo and charter carriers being most severely hit. Signs of weak growth appeared towards the end of the year.
In 2009, on average 7.5% of flights were delayed by air traffic flow and capacity management, compared to 11% in 2008. These delays decreased from an average of 2.3 minutes per flight in 2008 to 1.6 minutes per flight in 2009, the lowest delay rate since records began. The primary causes for delays were attributed to airlines (49%), airports (18%), en-route (10%) and weather (13%).
Eurocontrol is forecasting that the number of flights in Europe during 2010 will grow by a weak 1.7% and during 2011 by 3.2%, compared to a historical average of nearer 4%.
Top 30 scheduled airline CO2 emissions:
(source: RDC Aviation)
Top 30 airport CO2 emissions from scheduled airlines at an origin or destination within the scope of the EU ETS:
(source: RDC Aviation)