How is the region coping with environmental challenges and is the industry doing enough?

Hicham BennaniHicham Bennani, ACAC Certain States in the region have made remarkable efforts and have focused on the environmental challenge, an example is the important bioorganic fuel project in Qatar. However, the political crisis affecting the region, the course to the leadership and the impact of certain unilateral regional measures on the competitiveness of the main airlines in the region prevent significant progress. AACO is playing an important role to preserve the regional interest, but is constrained because there is no regional consensus concerning the environmental challenge. Noise pollution in particular is also poorly served by the region.

Mohammed Ali Ahmed, BCAA Traffic generally comes in bursts and there is often speed and level restrictions placed on aircraft which results in decreased economy and a larger carbon footprint. The summer season is also a significant factor on aircraft efficiency. The opening of extra airspace – currently closed due to State restrictions – would help with this.

 Mohamed Khonji, ICAO ICAO has been actively promoting and assisting States with the development of their respective States’ Action Plans to address CO2 emissions from international civil aviation. These Action Plans enable ICAO to identify areas where further assistance is needed and facilitates the measurement of global progress towards meeting the global goals first set in 2010, and reiterated in 2013, in Assembly Resolution A38-18.
ICAO has put forward an intensive capacity building strategy, including the development of guidance material, tools, a web interface and a series of hands-on seminars, all to assist States in the preparation of their action plans.
As of September 2014, 74 member States representing approximately 82 per cent of global international air traffic had prepared and submitted action plans to ICAO, including a number of influential MID Region States. States are presently being invited to develop or update their Action Plan and to submit it to ICAO by the end of June 2015, and the ICAO MID Regional Office is encouraging its remaining States to develop their Action Plans for CO2 emissions and to include environment protection in their improvements plans.
An ICAO ATM Performance Measurement Task Force has furthermore been established to support MID region States with their estimations of the environmental benefits accrued from the implementation of latest procedures and other operational improvements, such as Performance-based Navigation (PBN). These are a win-win for aviation given that they lower fuel consumption and costs for operators while at the same time decreasing related emissions.

Jeff PooleJeff Poole, CANSO CANSO is committed to the three environmental goals agreed by the whole aviation industry; and the four pillar strategy to reduce aviation’s environmental impact. CANSO and its members fully recognise our environmental responsibility to continuously improve air traffic management efficiency, minimise noise and reduce emissions. Most steps we take to modernise air transport systems have an environmental benefit. Initiatives such as air traffic flow management and collaborative decision making that reduce taxi times and cut down delays; flexible routes; and continuous descent and approach all reduce fuel and therefore emissions. CANSO shares best practice and publishes these as documents or guides that help ANSPs improve their environmental performance, for example: the very relevant issue of community noise impact and how to engage stakeholders to find a balance between noise and emissions; defining methods to identify the inefficiencies in airspace operations and appropriate metrics to monitor efficiency improvement.

Teri BristolTeri Bristol, FAA The FAA and the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority have been at the forefront of technology and procedure development for numerous advanced air navigation service enhancements in the oceanic environment. These advancements directly contribute to reduced fuel burn and carbon dioxide emissions. The maturity of the region’s fleet and improved route structure along with the demonstrated willingness of airlines, industry and governments to work together presents a valuable opportunity to make even further improvements. The ATO recently coordinated a round trip green flight demonstration between Abu Dhabi and Dulles International airports. The initial report shows a savings of about 5,000 kg of fuel. We hope to have the opportunity to expand these flights to other airlines in the near future.

Abdul Wahab TeffahaAbdul Wahab Teffaha, AACO We believe that this region is one of the ‘greenest’ regions in the world: The average age per unit aircraft of AACO members’ commercial fleet was 7.2 years in 2014; the youngest in the world. This continuous development in fleet, in addition to the focus of many airlines in the region on long-haul hub and spoke operations contribute to lowering the region’s emissions per unit of traffic, thus helping the industry cope with its targets on a global level. On the other hand, the review of the current ATS route network, and implementation of FUA and new routes within the region will allow more direct routing and consequently will further contribute to lowering the environmental footprint of aviation in this region.

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