EASA Emissions Rules Draw Closer

 - November 8, 2017, 11:53 AM

Rules to establish new European-built jet aircraft CO2 emissions standards recommended by ICAO have moved a step nearer with the recent publication of an EASA Opinion. In the Opinion, EASA explains how and why it plans to adopt the emissions requirement rulemaking the agency proposed early this year.

These rules would be the first of the ICAO recommended international standards for CO2 aircraft emissions that would apply initially to large subsonic jets, including business jets, for which the application for a type certificate was submitted on or after Jan. 1, 2020. The standard would apply to new deliveries of current in-production large jet aircraft starting Jan. 1, 2023. All covered in-production airplanes must meet the standard by Jan. 1, 2028.

In-production aircraft that by 2028 do not meet the standard will no longer be able to be produced unless their designs are sufficiently modified. Jet airplanes with an mtow of less than 12,500 pounds are exempt, as are turboprops with an mtow of less than 19,000 pounds and all piston-engine airplanes.

In addition to the new aircraft emissions requirements, operational efficiency measures will be regulated by the ICAO Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, or Corsia.  Basically, covered craft operators must offset the growth in their carbon emissions in international flying on an annual basis from a 2020 baseline.

However, most business aircraft operators will not be covered by Corsia because there is an exemption for aircraft that emit less than 10,000 tonnes of CO2 in international flights annually. According to the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), even the BBJ and ACJ produce less than 6,600 tonnes annually (assuming 900 hours of flight time) and less than 3,000 tonnes when flying 400 hours annually.  

The EASA Opinion reported that the 43 comments it received from state organizations and from industry on the proposed amendment published in January were “generally positive, with some suggestions for clarification of the text.” Four comments were received from non-governmental organizations that questioned the methodology of the standard-setting process and the “environmental effectiveness” of the final decisions.

EASA executive director Patrick Ky addressed the environmental effectiveness. “These new aviation environmental standards will contribute to improved local air quality and to the overall climate change objectives of the Paris Agreement,” he said. “EASA is committed to a cleaner and quieter aviation sector through a variety of measures, including aircraft engine environmental standards, while supporting improved operational practices, sustainable aviation fuels, market-based measures and voluntary industry initiatives.”

EASA is expected to adopt the final rule in the fourth quarter of 2018. Meanwhile, the FAA has yet to publish proposed rulemaking to implement the ICAO standards that would establish emissions rules for new U.S.-manufactured airplanes.