Bizav Groups Back ICAO-recommended CO2 Standard

 - February 9, 2016, 10:19 AM

Business aviation groups welcomed the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) agreement to establish the first-ever standard for aircraft carbon-dioxide emissions. ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) formally recommended the standard yesterday, paving the way for adoption by the full ICAO Governing Council and General Assembly later this year.

The standard would cover all new-production business jets with a mtow of more than 5.7 metric tons/12,566 pounds and most new-production large turboprops with a mtow of more than 8.6 metric tons/18,959 pounds. Most new type design business aircraft along with all in-production would need to comply by 2023. The CAEP agreement recommends that larger aircraft, those with 19 seats or more, be in compliance by 2020. The CAEP also recommended a phaseout of production of aircraft that do not comply by 2028. Although certification authorities might be able to grant exemptions in limited circumstances, the new standard could spell the end for production of older business jet types by 2028, but manufacturers believe they can develop solutions for at least some of those aircraft, according to Ed Smith, senior v-p of international and environmental affairs for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

The standard considers an aircraft’s performance in cruise, along with size and weight, and recognizes that CO2 reductions can be achieved through new technologies affecting structural, aerodynamic or propulsion systems, GAMA noted. The standard has been designed with the idea that periodic reviews will allow the stringency of its standards to be tightenedfor alignment with the development of new technologies, the association added.

“This landmark environmental measure reinforces the industry’s strong record of bringing to market technology that improves aviation’s efficiency, and is an important part of our industry’s commitment to address climate change,” said GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce. “The new standard will allow aviation to continue to grow in a sustainable manner.”

“The agreed CO2 standard has achieved the best balance of environmental benefit, technological feasibility, economic reasonableness and consideration of interdependencies,” according to the Air Transport Action Group, a coalition of more than 50 organizations involved in air transportation. The CAEP did not recommend retrofit for existing fleets. “That is not practical,” ATAG noted, but added that operators are already voluntarily retrofitting to reduce emissions. The smallest business jets and smaller turboprops are exempt, in part because they “collectively emit a very small proportion of CO2,” the coalition added.

The International Business Aviation Council also endorsed the standard. “The CO2 standard is a significant step representing the commitment of manufacturers and operators of business aircraft to mitigating CO2 emissions,” said IBAC director general Kurt Edwards.

The business aviation groups consider the standard as one of the primary pillars of the industry’s larger plans for climate change. The industry has set a goal of capping CO2 emissions growth beginning in 2020 and cutting them in half by 2050. The standard also lays the groundwork for the development of global market-based measures to curb emission growth.

Once adopted by ICAO, the standard must be adopted by individual states. Last summer the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking for the regulations of greenhouse gas emissions. That was the first step of formal rulemaking that was being conducted in concert with the development of the ICAO standard.

Airport representatives see the agreement as representing an important step in the industry’s efforts to tackle climate change. "It is no exaggeration to say that the future of aviation depends on our dedication to the cause of environmental stewardship," said Angela Gittens, director general of ACI World. "Today's agreement underscores the sector's united stance on carbon emissions reduction."