Aviation and the Environment
The Role of General Aviation
• The aviation industry has been successful in
adopting an environmental agenda that supports a sustainable aviation environment.
• This agenda includes testing alternative fuels to
be used in aircraft, developing carbon offsets, and encouraging “green” airports.
The Facts on Aviation Emissions
• Aviation accounts for only 3% of greenhouse gas
(GHG) emissions worldwide, according to data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
• U.S. aviation industry has reduced GHG emissions
by 13% since 2000. General aviation and U.S. airlines are doing a better job of transporting passengers on less fuel, by harmonizing schedules, switching to more fuelefficient aircraft and engines, and undertaking fuelsaving measures.
• Aircraft fuel efficiency improved by 23% from
2000-2006, based on the amount of fuel consumption per passenger mile, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. While automobile fuel efficiency increased by 2%.
total petroleum product consumption. According to the Department of Energy, aviation gasoline and jet fuel supply account for 1,624,000 barrels per day compared to 20,588,000 barrels of all petroleum products used per day.
• Aviation gasoline and jet fuel account for 12% of
Facts on Alternative Fuels
• Alternative fuels programs exist within aviation.
Virgin Fuels, Boeing, and GE Aviation have joined forces to develop an alternative fuel composed of babassu oil and a mixture of jet fuel and coconut oil.
• The University of North Dakota received a $5 million
grant to develop a cold weather sustainable biofuel to be used by the military.
Technology and the Environment
• New aviation technology is producing cleaner and
more efficient aircraft. Advances in aerodynamics offer more efficient wings and designs with less drag. The Cirrus and Columbia aircraft are examples of more efficient general aviation aircraft. New composite materials are making aircraft lighter, resulting in increased fuel efficiency.
Federal Programs to Improve Emissions
• The FAA implemented the Reduced Vertical Separation
Minimum, an ICAO concept, which reduces aircraft separation standards at certain altitudes, allowing aircraft to fly more optimum profiles safely, use less fuel and increase airspace capacity, saving about 3 million tons of carbon emissions annually.
Francisco and Denver, require a climate action plan, and state environmental regulatory agencies are requesting GHG inventory documentation as part of a state National Environmental Policy Act.
• Many municipal governments, including Seattle, San
• Aviation accounts for 9% of the total
transportation energy use.
• Highway transportation (cars, light trucks, and
medium/heavy trucks) make up almost 80% of transportation energy use and contribute a similar level of GHGs.
General vs. Commercial Aviation
• General aviation accounts for less than one
percent of the total transportation energy use in the United States. amount of commercial air carriers’ fuel usage.
• General aviation’s fuel use is one-seventh the
NATA’s Environmental Initiatives
• NATA established an Environmental Committee to develop programs
designed to assist member companies in minimizing their impact on the environment.
• NATA is establishing a program to make carbon offsets available to
member companies, which includes a 3- to 4-cent per gallon carbon offset based on the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCE). CCE is the only voluntary, legally binding integrated trading system to reduce emissions of all six major GHGs, with offset projects worldwide. environmental compliance standards, including a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure plan if fuel is stored above ground in tankers.
• NATA encourages its member companies to meet proper
Support Air Traffic Modernization
• Support Next Generation Air Transportation System
(NextGen): NextGen is the FAA’s national plan to transform the air
traffic control system from a ground-based navigation system using radar to a satellite-based system.
• FAA Reauthorization legislation will provide the resources to enable
the FAA to make repairs and upgrades to existing facilities and equipment, and provide for high-priority safety-related systems.
• NextGen technology will allow more aircraft and routes to be
determined within the airspace. And most importantly, utilizing new technologies to improve airspace usage will enable aircraft to fly routes more directly, thereby minimizing noise and the impact on the environment.
• The demand for air travel is increasing steadily. • The FAA projects that by 2025 the number of •
domestic enplanements will have doubled to 1,482 million per year. The environmental impact of air travel is increasingly important to consumers, and the aviation industry is collaborating to address this important issue.