IAA Website - Monday, January 30, 2023 6:16 PM

Aviation is responsible for about 3.5% of all gas/particle emissions. Work by aircraft manufacturers is continuing to focus on having modern fuel efficient aircraft, minimising fuel burn by proactive air traffic management and scheduling traffic in a manner to reduce holding and delays. The industry must act in an environmentally friendly manner.

Air traffic management has a vital part to play, not just in delivering a safe and cost efficient air navigation services but also in minimising the adverse effects of civil aviation, notably aircraft noise and engine emissions.

The IAA is committed to maintaining environmental standards which comply with the requirements of:

• International Civil Aviation Organisation 
• Eurocontrol
• The European Union
• European Safety Agency (EASA)
• Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO)

We are committed to:

  • Being a leader in Environmental Management.
  • Ensuring that the delivery of Air Navigation Systems considers the impact of aviation on the environment in the planning, designing and revision of airspace and air traffic procedures.
  • Ensuring that the Safety Regulation Division within the IAA promotes best environmental standards while ensuring that aviation safety is not compromised and that all Irish registered aircraft are compliant with the applicable environmental certification requirements.
  • Considering environmental impact on strategic decision making process, assess and manage environmental risks and establish environmental targets and priorities.
  • Seeking to reduce the IAA’s direct environment footprint and minimise future adverse environmental impact.
  • Using energy and water in an efficient manner, minimising waste and recycling materials where possible.
  • Ensuring that all goods and services supplied by eternal contractors meet the environmental requirements of the IAA.
  • Minimising the use of solvents, lead based paints, non-biodegradable chemicals, CFCs, ozone-depleting substances and materials from unsustainable sources. 
  • We are currently working on an Energy Management Policy and Plan that will ensure we reach the 2020 target of reducing our CO2 emissions by 33% (The IAA has an obligation under the SEAI Public Sector Programme to demonstrate that it is implementing energy saving initiatives with the aim of achieving the required government target for all Public Sector businesses to reduce their energy consumption by 33% by 2020). To meet this end the IAA have introduced a number of Green Initiatives in recent times.

Energy Saving at our Facilities

Our head office building, The Times Building, uses an intelligent lighting system and centralised printing. The Cork Control Tower also has intelligent lighting control. This helps reduce our energy demands and cut down on harmful emissions.

Single European Sky Package II

Single European Sky is a package of legislation which is aimed at enhancing safety, reducing osts, increasing airspace capacity and improving the environment. Environmental issues at the core of the Single European Sky and improved air traffic management should realise its potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from aviation. Prospective improvements are up to 10% per flight, which amounts to 16 million tons of CO2 savings per year and a reduction of annual costs by €2.4 billion.

The IAA is making a significant contribution to SES II through the following initiatives, all of which are improving the environmental performance of the aviation industry:

Continuous Descent Approaches (Point Merge)

This is a method by which aircraft approach airports prior to landing. It is designed to reduce fuel consumption and noise compared with a conventional approach and involves maintaining a constant three degree descent angle during landing, until meeting the instrument Landing System (ILS). Basically, instead of approaching an airport in a stair-step fashion, throttling down and requesting permission to descend to each new (lower) altitude, CDA allows for a smooth, constant-angle descent to landing.This reduces noise pollution and saves fuel.

Continuous Descent Approach (CDA) starts ideally from Top of Descent, (i.e. at cruise altitude), and allows the aircraft flying its individual optimal vertical profile down to runway threshold. Some airports apply constraints to this individual optimal profile such as imposing a constant descent angle (e.g. 3 degrees) or starting the CDA only after having left the holding pattern (e.g.London, at about 7,000 feet) due to Air Traffic Management constraints. 

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 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.This is more environmentally-friendly and,depending on the aircraft size, these CDAs permit the aircraft to reduce their fuel burn by up 250kg of fuel (approximately €170.00 at aviation fuel prices) and 750kg of CO2 per arrival.

The Point Merge project won the Innovation in Action Award category at the Irish Logistics and Transport Awards 2013. It was described as “a transport initiative that has demonstrated true innovation and a distinct new method to meet a challenging issue”.

En Route Shannon UpperAirspace Re-Design

Airlines use less fuel, passengers spend fewer hours in the air and the environment has benefited from reduced CO2 emissions following the introduction, in December 2009, of a new system to streamline air traffic management.Developed by the Irish Aviation Authority with other international air traffic agencies, the ENSURE project removes the myriad of outdated air routes and allows airlines to plan their flights to route directly through Irish airspace.


P-RNAV offers the ability to use RNAV functionality in all phases of flight except final approach and missed approach. It is used to define routes in terminal airspace which meet the needs of the aircraft operators and the air navigation services provider. This often means shorter, more direct routes with simple connections to the en-route structure. With environmental issues now playing a major role, routes can be designed to make best advantage of the airspace available and, where possible, by-pass densely populated areas, thus reducing noise pollution and CO2 emissions.