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- Aviation and the Environment
Environmental concern about climate change, gaseous emissions and noise is becoming an increasingly important political, economic and social issue for aviation. Tackling the environmental issue is the latest major challenge facing global aviation. Although aviation represents only 2% of global CO2 emissions, air transport generates 0.6 billion tonnes of CO2 a year.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a global leader in environmental aviation matters, having developed a range of standards, policies and guidance material for the application of integrated measures by member states. These address aircraft noise and emissions embracing technological improvements, operating procedures, proper organization of air traffic, appropriate airport and land-use planning, and the use of market-based options. ICAO has published its 2016 Environmental Report - On Board a Sustainable Future. Click here to read the report.
As aviation activity in Europe increases, the pressure on aircraft operators, airports and air traffic management (ATM) to increase capacity is intensifying the debate on the environmental impact of aviation. Internationally it is yet to be determined whether it is possible to achieve an environmentally sustainable air traffic system and simultaneously meet demand.
The need to address the adverse environmental impact of aviation is on the agenda of international air transport industry and in Europe is well recognised in Article I of the revised EUROCONTROL Convention. This commits the contracting parties to achieving harmonisation and integration of the ATM system taking into account, inter alia, the need to minimize any adverse environmental impact.
The IAA seeks to minimise the impact on the environment caused by its safety regulation and air navigation services activities. The Authority is committed to working with international aviation bodies with the aim of protecting the environment through the implementation of an Environment Policy. This policy adopts international best practice to reduce climate-effecting emissions and the adverse impact of aircraft noise emissions and to implement initiatives to conserve energy at all IAA facilities.
The IAA is dedicated to developing innovative air traffic management initiatives that minimise the impact of aviation on the environment. These airspace initiatives work to reduce the distances flown by aircraft, which in turn lowers their fuel burn and CO2 emissions.
- Introduced in 2009, the ENSURE project removed the myriad of outdated air routes and introduced free route airspace. This cut out the old ‘zig-zag' flight paths and offers airlines more efficient, point-to-point routes when they fly over Irish airspace, thereby reducing fuel burn and CO2 emissions. In 2012, it is estimated that approximately 14,800 tonnes of fuel and 46,800 tonnes of CO2 were saved.
- Implemented in December 2012, Dublin Point Merge streamlines the way in which aircraft are sequenced to land at Dublin Airport and uses new techniques to assist airlines to fly in Continuous Descent Approaches (CDAs) to the main runway. It has almost eradicated the need to put aircraft into traditional, circular holding patterns at Dublin and greatly reduces aircraft fuel burn and CO2 emissions.