One way to improve the airline industry’s perceived environmental impact is for carriers to shout louder. Ironically, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) calls for operators to make more noise comes as airlines claim to have reduced sound levels by 75 percent in the past 40 years.
Will flying one day be as taboo as smoking is today, at least in most of Europe? Will it become socially unacceptable in the future to travel by air? Experts who see an unprecedented attack on air transport’s environmental footprint are posing these questions, challenging the industry’s growth for the first time in several decades.
The UK intends to push for carbon dioxide emission trading for aviation while it holds the office of presidency of the European Union for six months, beginning July 1. Jill Adam of the UK’s DOT told a business aviation convention last month in Geneva that the aviation community, including business aviation, must own up to its responsibilities. “In other words, the polluter pays,” she said.
The European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) has never had more work on its plate and the industry has never had a greater need for the group’s lobbying efforts on its behalf. This was the headline message from EBAA chief executive Brian Humphries as the 2007 European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) prepared to open.
Higher numbers of regional airline travelers in Europe have not meant greater environmental impact, according to European Regions Airline Association (ERA) director-general Mike Ambrose. Rather, the industry is flying bigger aircraft at record passenger load factors (PLFs)–the highest in 20 years of ERA data collection.
Europe’s primary weapon against global warming is the Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS), a program rooted in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The EU-ETS encourages the use of climate-friendly technologies by rewarding businesses that invest in green technologies, thus turning their investments into quick, short-term profits.
Business aircraft manufacturers and operators had better tackle their environmental image sooner rather than later. Global warming has replaced noise as the number-one aviation-related environmental concern. The diagram on page 44 shows how easy it could be for green lobbies to persuade the public that the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by business jets is even less acceptable than that of airliners.
Within a decade, operators of aircraft with an mtow of 19,000 pounds or more and flying in the airspace of the 25-state European Union (EU) will likely have to start paying for carbon dioxide emissions from their engines.
The European Union’s new emissions trading requirements for aviation could be imposed on a much larger group of business aircraft than has been anticipated. According to the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), the European Commission (EC) intends to extend emission trading to all aircraft weighing more than 5,700 kg (12,566 pounds).
The European Commission (EC) definitely wants to include aviation in the European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) to cap the industry’s not-so-minor contribution to greenhouse effect gas emissions.