Aviation faces challenge to reduce pollution

Aviation represents around two percent of emissions of global carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the main gases responsible for rising temperatures. (File/AFP)
Updated 10 April 2019

Aviation faces challenge to reduce pollution

  • A total of 4.3 billion people flew in 2018, a 6.1 percent increase over the previous year
  • The sector is implementing an emissions trading scheme that aims to stabilize the situation at 2019-2020 levels

PARIS: Aviation has boomed in the past decades, with low-cost airlines helping make travel affordable to more people, but the industry faces a major challenge to play its part in cutting emissions responsible for global warming.
Aviation represents around two percent of emissions of global carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the main gases responsible for rising temperatures, according to the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
That is roughly equivalent to the overall emissions of Germany, according to consulting firm Sia Partners.
A total of 4.3 billion people flew in 2018, a 6.1 percent increase over the previous year. Air traffic is expected to double within the next 15 to 20 years.
Transport accounts for a quarter of the emission of climate-changing greenhouse gases in Europe, according to the European Environment Agency.
Road transport makes up the overwhelming majority of emissions in the sector at 70 percent of the total. Aviation and maritime transport account for most of the rest.
But on a measure of CO2 emitted each kilometer traveled by a passenger, air travel ranks top at 285 grams per passenger kilometer. Road transportation follows at 158 and rail travel at 14 grams per passenger kilometer, according to figures published by the European Environment Agency.
“For long-haul it’s complicated,” acknowledges Philippe Berland, a transportation expert at Sia-Partner.
“Air travel is also closely tied with the development of economic activity. It isn’t clear there would be a shift to other means of transport because air travel also brings rapidity in traveling from point A to B,” he said.
But for short distances a switch is more viable, so long as train travel is organized in an efficient manner, said Berland.
The sector is implementing an emissions trading scheme that aims to stabilize the situation at 2019-2020 levels.
Called the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation and run by the ICAO, the at first voluntary scheme will have the industry buy pollution credits for emissions above the baseline from other sectors that have reduced their production of greenhouse gases.
The ICAO has put the emphasis on improving the performance of aircraft.
Both Airbus and Boeing have in recent years rolled out new planes that offer double-digit gains in fuel savings from those they replace thanks to updated engines, use of lighter materials and aerodynamic modifications. These new planes are 80 percent more efficient than the first commercial airliners introduced in the 1960s, according to an ICAO expert.
The ICAO also believes gains can be made by better management of air traffic to reduce use of fuel and by developing sustainable biofuels.
Several airlines have begun testing biofuels. But their production costs remain high and their widespread adoption would increase competition for arable land.
In the longer term, the industry is looking toward technological developments such as electric engines.
While industry experts don’t expect electric engines to be rolled out commercially for another two decades, a new generation of plane designs that offer more fuel savings is likely to appear within five or ten years.


Japan’s ANA Holdings says buying 20 more Boeing 787 Dreamliners

Updated 25 February 2020

Japan’s ANA Holdings says buying 20 more Boeing 787 Dreamliners

  • The price tag for the purchases was not disclosed
  • Planes expected to go into service between financial years 2022 and 2025

TOKYO: Japan’s ANA Holdings said Tuesday it will buy 20 new Boeing 787-10 and 787-9 aircraft, with the planes expected to go into service between 2022 and 2025.
The order will be made up of 11 787-10 aircraft, which will serve domestic routes, and nine 787-9 planes for international destinations.
The price tag was not disclosed.
All Nippon Airways has been gradually replacing its Boeing 777s with 787s, citing better fuel efficiency and a reduction in noise emissions.
Once all 20 of the newly ordered planes go into service, ANA will operate some 103 787s, the firm said.
“Boeing’s 787s have served ANA with distinction, and we are proud to expand our fleet by adding more of these technologically advanced aircraft,” said Yutaka Ito, executive vice president of ANA and ANA Holdings, in a statement.
“These planes represent a significant step forward for ANA as we work to make our entire fleet more eco-friendly and to reduce noise output,” Ito added.