Thursday 27 November 2014

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The latest contributions on Aviation policy in Europe.


Boeing 787 ecoDemonstrator begins new round of sustainability tests

Posted by on 24/11/14

Boeing has launched a new round of tests with its specially outfitted B-787 ecoDemonstrator, employing it to test more than two dozen technologies to improve the aircraft’s environmental performance. The tests will evaluate software to improve the plane’s operational efficiencies, remote sensors that cut down on wiring, improvements in flight controls and special anti-icing wing coatings.

Other tests include automated, satellite-based continuous-descent spacing to make landings more efficient, new greenhouse gas sensors, real-time turbulence reports, cutting edge instrument landing systems and wing access doors made from recycled carbon fiber.

“The ecoDemonstrator is focused on technologies that can improve airlines’ gate-to-gate efficiency and reduce fuel consumption, emissions and noise,” says Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Ray Conner. “Through the ecoDemonstrator Program, Boeing continues to invest in innovation that benefits the environment and our customers.” The 787 joins a B-737 ecoDemonstrator that included wing and fan nozzle improvements.

The ecoDemonstrator program is part of Boeing’s commitment  to improving sustainability in flight and its goals are aligned with the EU focus on sustainable transport. The 787 Dreamliner itself represents a 20 percent improvement in efficiency compared with similarly sized aircraft.

A preview of the Juncker Commission on aviation

Posted by on 04/11/14

The new European Commission, led by President Jean-Claude Juncker, took office on 1 November. Juncker has reorganized the Commission for more cross-functional work, with — in addition to the commissioners — sevenVice-Presidents with broader portfolios such as energy or jobs and growth, including the first Vice-President and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Juncker has charged Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc of Slovenia with working under the Vice-President for energy union to achieve the EU’s goals of greenhouse gas reductions in the transport sector, in which the worldwide aviation sector will play a significant role. Bulc is also called on to deliver the EU’s goals for SESAR, the technical implementation institution behind the Single European Sky initiative.

Bulc has noted the role of sustainable biofuels in achieving Juncker’s emissions reductions goal. “Alternative fuels are now firmly at the heart of EU transport policy,” she told the Parliament during her introductory hearing in October. “The challenge now is to get things up and running on the ground. That means making sure enough appropriate infrastructure gets built so that we create the conditions for these fuels to power transport into the future.”

Bulc said she hopes for transport to achieve the recognition it deserves as an important part of Europe’s economy. Transport “tends to be seen as a problem, rather than a solution and as a creator for growth,” Bulc said. “I will do my best to change that kind of attitude, by working with you, the European Parliament, to give transport the importance that it deserves.”

Boeing congratulates Commissioner Bulc on her appointment and welcomes her support for our sector in general, and alternative fuels in particular. As for aviation, when produced sustainably, aviation biofuels can reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 80 per cent compared to conventional jet fuel. EU policy measures remain key to advance aviation biofuels development and commercialisation.

Boeing partners with Chinese firm on sustainable biofuel from waste cooking oil

Posted by on 23/10/14

Boeing recently announced a partnership with Chinese aerospace company COMAC to test turning waste cooking oil — also known as “gutter oil” in China — into sustainable aviation biofuel. Boeing and COMAC estimate that used cooking oil in China can result in 1.8 billion litres of biofuel, none of which comes from feedstocks and cropland that competes with food production. The joint facility in Hangzhou will produce 650 litres of biofuel daily with a goal of assessing the feasibility and cost of producing higher volumes.

The initiative continues Boeing’s efforts to support the production of sustainable aviation biofuels suited to local ecosystems around the world — working with partners in the United States, Europe, China, the United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Japan, South Africa, Australia, and other countries. When produced sustainably, aviation biofuels can reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 80 per cent compared to conventional jet fuel. On the EU policy side, Boeing continues to advocate for policy measures that can support aviation biofuels development and commercialization.

“Strong and continuing teamwork between Boeing and COMAC is helping our industry make progress on environmental challenges that no single company or country can solve alone,” says Boeing China president Ian Thomas. “By working together for mutual benefit, we’re finding innovative ways to support China’s aviation industry and build a sustainable future.”


Boeing forecasts air cargo rebound for Europe, world

Posted by on 13/10/14
Boeing has released its World Air Cargo Forecast showing that air cargo has rebounded in 2014 and is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 4.7 per cent over the next 20 years — more than doubling. “We see strong signs of a recovery as air freight traffic levels continue to strengthen after several years of stagnation,” says Boeing Commercial Airplanes Vice President for Marketing Randy Tinseth. “The air cargo market is now growing at nearly the long-term rates.”
Intra-Europe air cargo is expected to increase 2 per cent per year, while Europe-to-North America grows at 3.1 per cent. Asia represents a major growth opportunity for European air cargo, with Europe-to-East Asia forecast to expand at 5.1 per cent per year, Europe-to-South Asia forecast at 4.7 per cent, and Europe-to-Middle East at 4 percent.

Other promising growth areas for European air cargo include the Latin America-to-Europe corridors — already a fast-growing zone — with growth forecast at 4.8 per cent, as well as Europe-to-Africa, with expected growth of 4.3 per cent.

This growth in air cargo, along with projected growth in passenger travel, will require effective policy implementation of the European Union’s goals for the Single European Sky and SESAR — which will improve environmental efficiency while boosting throughput — as well as increased sustainability in fuels and technology. Boeing is strongly committed to sustainable growth of aviation through its investments in second-generation aviation biofuels and advanced aerospace technology.

Aviation industry makes commitment on climate action

Posted by on 28/09/14

In support of the United Nations Climate Summit and in keeping with its longstanding goals of sustainable growth, the aviation industry joined other business and government groups in making a commitment on climate action. The commitment is between the UN agency ICAO, the International Civil Aviation Organization, and the Air Transport Action Group, which represents the aviation sector.

Through this commitment, aviation is pledging to “a pathway of sustainable growth encompassing all areas of the commercial industry and governments working in partnership.” It is building on a record of action, as an industry and with ICAO — for example, the historic agreement at the 2013 ICAO Assembly on creating a global, market-based mechanism to limit carbon emissions.

The partnership will also focus on developing sustainable aviation biofuels, deploying new and energy-efficient technology, modernising air traffic control to minimize climate impacts, developing a common carbon emissions standard for new aircraft, and building aviation sustainability capacity in ICAO member states around the world.

The commitment includes Airports Council International, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation, the International Air Transport Association, the International Coordinating Council for Aerospace Industries Associations, and the International Business Aviation Council — representing all the stakeholders in the aviation industry, including airports, airlines, air traffic control, and aerospace firms.

“Today’s announcement builds on the collaborative action taking place across the commercial aviation sector. It is impressive to see all parts of the industry working with each other, and with partners in research, government and other sectors to deliver the climate actions we have committed to as an industry,” says ATAG Executive Director Michael GIll. “Aviation is a force for good in the world, supporting economies, fostering tourism and allowing global cultural exchange. We believe that we can continue to deliver these benefits to the world whilst also addressing our climate impacts.”

Boeing and Embraer Partner for Sustainable Biofuels in Brazil

Posted by on 15/05/14

Boeing and Brazilian aerospace manufacturer Embraer recently announced that they will form a join research centre to help develop Brazil’s sustainable aviation biofuel industry. The centre, to be based in Sao Jose dos Campos, will perform research, as well as funding and coordinating research with Brazilian universities. The research is expected to focus on technologies that fill gaps in Brazil’s sustainable aviation biofuel supply chain, such as feedstock production and processing technologies.

“Boeing is working aggressively around the world to expand the supply of sustainable aviation biofuel and reduce aviation’s carbon emissions,” said Julie Felgar, managing director of Environmental Strategy and Integration for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “With our joint biofuel research center, Boeing and Embraer are making a strong commitment toward a successful, sustainable aviation biofuel industry in Brazil.”

Boeing is leading the industry in developing sustainable biofuels that minimise both CO2 emissions and indirect land-use changes (ILUC). The company’s partnerships in other parts of the world — such as in the United Arab Emirates — have shown significant promise and results. When produced sustainably, aviation biofuel emits 50 to 80 percent lower carbon emissions through its lifecycle than petroleum jet fuel.

Boeing continues to partner for technological progress and advocate for policy measures that can support aviation biofuels development and commercialization, also through its leadership in the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG), which has called for policymakers to consider mechanisms to lower the contribution of high ILUC risk biofuels and create incentives for sustainable fuels that have been certified as low risk of ILUC. SAFUG members made a public pledge to promote robust standards for sustainable aviation fuels.

ATAG Hosts Aviation Summit

Posted by on 07/05/14

The Air Transport Action Group has just finished hosting its 2014 Global Sustainable Aviation Summit in Geneva. The conference focused on global politics, the UN’s sustainable development goals, building sustainable aviation infrastructure, and meeting capacity demands. With a nod to the centennial of airline travel marked this year, the conference also looked forward to the next century of commercial air travel.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ managing director for environmental strategy and integration, Julie Felgar, moderated a panel discussion on preparing for growth and provided the aerospace perspective. Other panelists included leading figures representing airlines, airports, and air traffic management providers.

Given aviation’s projected growth rates, the group discussed how the industry can meets its future capacity demands — in the air and on the ground — in a sustainable manner. Boeing’s corporate-wide efforts to promote sustainability continue to build its industry-leading position and provide a commercial advantage.

The conference also addressed the historic greenhouse gas emissions agreement inked at the ICAO assembly last year, government-industry partnerships, and aviation’s economic benefits.

Boeing values opportunities like these to share what the aviation industry is doing to continuously improve its environmental performance. Besides significantly reducing our own CO2 emissions, energy use, hazardous-waste generation and water consumption within our operations, Boeing is continuing its leadership role on global efforts to help the commercial aviation industry achieve the goal of carbon-neutral growth from 2020. To that end, Boeing is researching and developing new technologies that help define the next generation of cleaner, quieter and more fuel-efficient airplanes, such as the 787 Dreamliner or the 737 MAX.


Parliament ratifies ‘stop the clock’ deal

Posted by on 13/04/14

On 3 April, the European Parliament in plenary session adopted by a 458-120 vote a negotiated agreement with the EU Greek Presidency and the Commission on the aviation ETS. The measure now goes to the Council of Ministers for its final endorsement. The agreement came after the Environment Committee had rejected the arrangement.

The key element of the agreement is the extension of the “Stop the Clock” derogation until 2016 (i.e. a suspension of the law for intercontinental flights). The agreement follows the original Commission’s proposal to apply the ETS with an airspace approach from 2014 until a global Market Based Measure is implemented in 2020.

Peter Liese, the lead MEP supporting the negotiated agreement — and rapporteur in the Environment Committee – called the deal “the best option under the circumstances,” although he defended the ETS. “We have a very clear message for the world. Either we get a global agreement in 2016 or we will have the full scope of the EU’s ETS back in 2017.”

The agreement would stop the clock only until 2016, that is when the ICAO Assembly is next scheduled to meet, so that if progress is not made the full ETS can be implemented. The deal also calls for member states to report how they spend revenues collected from auctions under the ETS.

Boeing continues to strongly support a global agreement at ICAO level to address aviation emissions.The European Parliament’s pragmatic decision enhances the ICAO process and creates positive momentum towards a global solution.

MEPs Reject Agreement with Council Presidency on ‘Stop the Clock’

Posted by on 28/03/14

On 19 March, MEPs in the Environment Committee rejected a negotiated agreement with the EU Greek Presidency and the Commission on the aviation ETS. The key element of the agreement was the extension of the “Stop the Clock” derogation  until 2016 (i.e. a suspension of the law for intercontinental flights. The agreement follows the original Commission’s proposal to apply the ETS with an airspace approach from 2014 until a global Market Based Measure is implemented in 2020.

The dossier now goes to the full Parliament, which is expected to vote on 3 April. Peter Liese, the lead MEP supporting the negotiated agreement — and rapporteur in the Environment Committee – remained “optimistic that the plenary will support the compromise”.

The agreement would stop the clock only until 2016, that is when the ICAO Assembly is next scheduled to meet, so that if progress is not made the full ETS can be implemented. The deal also calls for member states to report how they spend revenues collected from auctions under the ETS.

Boeing looks forward to a final outcome in the EU process that supports a global approach at ICAO level.

Second World ATM Congress Concludes in Madrid

Posted by on 07/03/14
The second annual World Air Traffic Management Conference recently wrapped up in Madrid, convening air traffic management (ATM) professionals, policy makers, and thought leaders from around the world.

During the Congress, attendees and speakers highlighted how ATM providers can meet airlines’ expectations for safe, efficient, environmentally progressive and cost-effective air navigation services. The head of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration delivered a keynote address on delivering ATM modernisation. Speakers also discussed Europe’s functional airspace blocks (FABs), the growth of remotely piloted aircraft, ATM partnerships and efficient regulation. View the full agenda here.

The Congress comes as the European Parliament’s Transport Committee has adopted the Single European Sky 2+ (SES2+) package of upgrades to the project to harmonise European ATM services. SES2+ includes better oversight by state-level authorities, more efficient procurement, more inclusion of airspace users, more rigorous metrics, greater FAB flexibility, a stronger focus on centralised services for ANSPs (including SESAR, the SES’ implementation vehicle) and consolidation of overlapping regulatory jurisdictions.

The implementation of the Single European Sky remains of paramount important for the European aviation industry. It cannot delayed any longer if aviation is to remain a key enabler of competitiveness, mobility and connectivity for Europe.

Global Sustainable Aviation Summit 2014

Posted by on 20/02/14

Commercial aviation is celebrating its centenary this year and, aside from looking at the way that our industry has moved from that first airline passenger to flying over 8 million passengers a year, we are also taking the opportunity to look at the future of aviation. For our industry, a positive future is a sustainable one and the industry will be looking at the various components that future at the Global Sustainable Aviation Summit, to be held in Geneva on 29 and 30 April.

In recent years, the Air Transport Action Group’s Aviation & Environment Summit became the leading global forum for the world’s aviation community to discuss sustainability issues. It is where we launched the world’s first targets for reducing emissions from a single global sector.  And it is where we, as a community, committed to sustainable growth in air transport in 2012. This year’s event will broaden the focus to discuss aviation and climate change; aviation as a catalyst for sustainable development and the future implications for aviation.

Those interested in registering for the event, or finding out more, can check out

EU / ASEAN Aviation Summit

Posted by on 16/02/14

Singapore is the world aviation city this week, as the Singapore Air Show takes place at the city’s famous Changi Airport and several other events are held in conjunction, including the EU / ASEAN Aviation Summit. The event was an opportunity for government and industry to discuss how the two regions can build closer ties and work with each other to take advantage of the benefits that air traffic growth can bring. While there have been panel sessions on safety, connectivity, air traffic management and airports, the real reason for the Summit seems to be working towards a comprehensive air services agreement between the EU and ASEAN nations.

Speaking at the Summit, Olivier Jankovec, ACI Europe’s Direct General, said: “Liberalising aviation between the EU and ASEAN is not just about normalisation – it is about upping our game in response to increasing competitive pressures from other regions. It is about boosting our own position as global aviation hubs. We need to seize this opportunity for first mover advantage before others reap the full benefit of unrestricted market access. Beyond our own positioning, experience shows that consumers are the biggest winners from aviation liberalisation, and that there are other far-reaching benefits. For us as airports, it is about unleashing our potential to act as engines of economic growth for our communities – something not to be overlooked given the urgency of sustaining Europe’s economic recovery.

The ASEAN region is really one of the aviation growth powerhouses – as EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas said in his opening address to the Summit, “Half of the world’s traffic growth over the next 20 years will be to, from, or within the Asia-Pacific region. By 2030, it will be world leader in air traffic, with a market share of 38%. ASEAN will be at the very centre of this exciting development. It will contribute to this growth and also be able take advantage of it. But we are not just going to look on in envy. We are also here to engage with you, to share experiences and ideas, and to learn from you.”

It was mentioned often throughout the Summit that aviation acts as a catalyst for growth in other areas of the economy and that stronger ties in the region, despite challenges of implementation, would provide great benefits to both economies.

EP committee votes to ‘restart the clock’

Posted by on 31/01/14

The Parliament’s Environment Committee on Thursday voted 46-6-1 to include intercontinental flights in the Emissions Trading Scheme for the segments of the flights within EU airspace. If adopted, the policy will replace the “stop the clock” regime, which suspended ETS for these flights pending an international agreement.

The Environment Committee’s vote would apply ETS to flights starting in April 2015, when “stop the clock” expires, and running through April 2016. The derogation is limited until then to allow progress to continue on a multilateral global emissions pact.

MEPs also pointed out that if the International Civil Aviation Organization does not adopt a full agreement in 2016, ETS will apply in full to all flights into and out of Europe. “We need to be prepared to fully implement our scheme after 2016 in case there is no global agreement. This would mean that we also cover intercontinental flights in full under our scheme. If there is a substantial agreement at the ICAO in 2016 we need to reconsider the situation,” said MEP Peter Liese, rapporteur for the proposal.

Negotiations between Parliament and member states to reach a final agreement will now start. A final vote on the plan is expected in the full Parliament in April.

The aviation industry supports a global framework under ICAO as the most appropriate means to address CO2 emissions from international aviation. Boeing believes as well that the best approach to reducing aviation emissions is a global approach and is of the view that the previous “stop the clock” proposal represented a pragmatic step in the direction to allow a more constructive dialogue in the ICAO negotiations towards a global sectoral agreement on aviation emissions.


Parliament committee continues debating Commission proposal on emissions

Posted by on 21/01/14

Amendments to Peter Liese’s draft report on the European Commission’s compromise proposal for including aviation in the Emissions Trading Scheme have recently been made available, with the Parliament’s Environment Committee tentatively scheduled to vote at its 30 January meeting after discussing them on 23 January.

In light of decisions taken at the ICAO Assembly last fall, the Commission had proposed continuing to limit full imposition of ETS on non-EU airlines but to factor in for emissions control purposes the distance travelled within EU airspace by all airlines whether EU-based or not. This proposal contrasted with the full imposition of ETS and with the “stop the clock” proposal adopted last spring, which suspended ETS application to all flights into or out of European airspace, for EU and non-EU carriers alike.

Liese’s draft report late in 2013 generally agreed with the Commission’s proposal, although he proposed altering it by limiting its effectiveness to 2016, when the ICAO Assembly is next scheduled to meet, so that if progress is not made the full ETS can be implemented.

MEPs offered several amendments to Liese’s report during a debate on 17 December:

  • Rejecting the Commission’s proposal outright
  • Maintaining the current “stop the clock” derogation
  • Imposing a 50-50 emissions control model, either immediately or in 2016 should ICAO propose what the Parliament considers an inadequate solution
  • Equal treatment for commercial and non-commercial operators

Numerous MEPs supported allowing ICAO to develop a broad-based global market-based mechanism for reducing emissions. “An international ICAO agreement offers the best prospects of a sustainable long-term solution,” said Georgios Koumoutsakos.

“It would be irresponsible for the EU to unilaterally renege on the commitments it made at the last ICAO assembly in October 2013. Deciding to do this would seriously jeopardise the conclusion of a global agreement and expose the European air transport sector to retaliatory measures,” Françoise Grossetête, Christine De Veyrac, and Dominique Riquet explained as justification for several amendments.

The aviation industry supports a global framework under ICAO as the most appropriate means to address CO2 emissions from international aviation. Boeing believes as well that the best approach to reducing aviation emissions is a global approach and is of the view that the previous “stop the clock” proposal represented a pragmatic step in the direction to allow a more constructive dialogue in the ICAO negotiations towards a global sectoral agreement on aviation emissions.

2013 aviation in review

Posted by on 23/12/13

As we look forward to the new year and reflect on 2013, it is worth taking stock of what has taken place in our industry. Aviation in Europe saw several important developments in 2013:

  • Tensions with non-EU countries had risen over the inclusion of aviation in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme, with foreign countries at odds over how their flagged airlines would be assessed. This spring saw those tensions ease as the EU decided to ‘stop the clock‘ on aviation in the ETS.
  • In September, the next step in that process was taken as the ICAO General Assembly reached a historic agreement to develop a market-based framework for controlling emissions on a global scale. This might be too slow for some MEPs, however. This was followed in October by the Commission’s proposal to re-adjust the ETS so that that aviation emissions would be covered for the part of flights that takes place in European regional airspace.
  • Meanwhile, the Parliament moved in an environmentally progressive direction by capping the use of first-generation biofuels with unintended ILUC, or indirect land-use change, effects, while member states have not reached yet a final position on the dossier. From its side, the aviation industry has been focusing on developing environmentally sustainable advanced biofuels.
  • And the Commission took the next step toward the deployment of SESAR, developing the technology and systems that will make the Single European Sky possible — saving air passengers and airlines time, money, and environmental impact.
  • Finally, the aviation industry took several major steps toward further sustainability, with IATA committing to carbon-neutral growth, ACI Europe’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme being named a World You Like Challenge finalist, and Boeing testing its ecoDemonstrator and committing to carbon-neutral growth by 2017.

What developments do you expect to see in 2014? What developments would you like to see? Let us know in the comments, and Happy New Year!