Home' Asian Aviation : AAV_March_2013 Contents VIEWPOINT
The air transport industry has probably done more
and is continuing to do more than any other
industry to improve its environmental performance.
But then it's had to. Not necessarily because it
has a dreadful environmental record, with other industries
producing far more pollution than aviation, but because
it's high profile and to be honest is a relatively easy target.
Aircraft noise over populated areas near airports is an
obvious sign to the public of one aspect of aviation's
environmental output. And while aircraft contrails are due
to water vapour, Joe Public doesn't necessarily know that.
Heavy industry, the pharmaceutical industry, fertiliser
manufacture, paper production, oil refining, factory farming
and of course road transportation are all major contributors
to global pollution.
The global aviation industry produces around 2% of
all human-produced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions,
with aviation responsible for 12% of emissions from
all transport sources -- compared with 74% from road
transport, according to Air Transport Action Group (ATAG),
the Geneva, Switzerland-based not-for-profit organisation
that represents the air transport industry with the mission
of promoting its sustainable growth.
But the aviation industry has done over the last decade
what many thought was not possible -- work together to
produce solutions for all aspects of the industry's poor
Activities are ongoing in all areas of aviation, including
reducing the noise of aircraft and the amount of CO2 they
release through improved engine technology; aerodynamic
changes to aircraft design to produce efficiency; new
lightweight materials to reduce fuel consumption; "green"
paint methods; biofuels, many of which take the waste from
the heavy industrial polluters and convert it into aviation
fuel; aircraft recycling; and new, more efficient air traffic
management procedures. No one can accuse the aviation
industry of not playing its part to improve the health of our
The latest agreement by the International Civil Aviation
Organisation's Committee on Aviation Environmental
Protection (CAEP) is a case in point (see story on page 6).
In February, CAEP agreed on new standards for certification
procedures supporting a new CO2 standard for aircraft
and a new global noise standard. The work is a result of the
combined effort of ICAO member states, airline industry and
As Tony Tyler, director general of the International Air
Transport Association points out, the work is a great example
of ICAO "successfully tackling a difficult environmental
issue". He adds: "Air transport is already 75% quieter than
it was four decades ago and the industry will continuously
pursue cost-effective noise management options to reduce
the number of people subjected to aircraft noise, in line
with our broader global commitments on sustainability and
The industry deserves a pat on the back for its efforts to
date. But by no means can it rest on its laurels as it is now
on a continual path of improving its environmental record,
particularly as air traffic continues its upwards growth,
despite recent short-term glitches in certain parts of the
The global air transport industry has set itself some high
environmental targets -- to improve fleet fuel efficiency by
1.5% per annum between now and 2020; from 2020 net
carbon emissions from aviation will be capped through
carbon neutral growth; and by 2050, net aviation carbon
emissions will be half of what they were in 2005.
These targets will only be met if all parts of the industry
come together and work in a united effort. Of course, it's
not just down to the aviation industry, with governments
around the world also having to play their part every step
of the way to ensure the aviation industry is as green as it
possibly can be.
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PAT ON THE BACK
What s the latest onboard?
ASIAN BUSINESS JETS
Fledgling sector set
AIR TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT
Delivering e ciencies
But the aviation industry has done
over the last decade what many
thought was not possible -- work
together to produce solutions for
all aspects of the industry s poor
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