A4A Applauds International Civil Aviation Organization Committee on Aircraft Emissions Standards Decisions

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8, 2016 – Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today commended the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) for its agreement on carbon dioxide (CO2) certification standards for new aircraft and on a particulate matter standard for new aircraft engines. The standards agreed upon at the CAEP meeting being held in Montreal, Canada will now be forwarded as recommendations to the Council of ICAO for adoption.

“Our industry already has a tremendous record of fuel efficiency improvements and emissions savings, and we are committed to continuing that trend,” said Nancy Young, A4A Vice President, Environmental Affairs. “These ambitious new standards put forth by ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection will assist us in meeting that commitment. We commend the work of the Committee for its part in ensuring that ICAO continues to demonstrate leadership in setting environmental standards for global aviation.”

CAEP recommended adoption of a set of aircraft CO2 certification standards for the future production of both new-type design aircraft and existing-type aircraft (also referred to as “in-production aircraft”).  The agreement to recommend standards applicable to the future production of existing-type aircraft added to the significance of the CAEP decision, given that CAEP had only committed to a standard for new-type aircraft in the discussions leading up to the meeting.

For large aircraft, CAEP agreed to recommend standards that are among the most aggressive under consideration. The standard for new-type design, large aircraft standard would go into effect in 2020, the earliest date under consideration, and the standard for large existing-type aircraft would apply beginning in 2023 (the earliest date under consideration for existing types), with a production cut-off for non-compliant aircraft by 2028.

CAEP recommended standards at lower levels of stringency for smaller aircraft, recognizing that flight physics complicate the adoption of certain of the more effective fuel-efficiency technologies into such aircraft. CAEP recommended that the standard for new-type aircraft with less than 60 tons of maximum takeoff weight go into effect in 2020, with the effective date for such new-type aircraft having only 19 seats or less being set at 2023. As with the standards for existing-type large aircraft, the standards for small existing-type aircraft would apply beginning in 2023, with a production cut-off for non-compliant aircraft by 2028.

“While the U.S. airlines account for only 2 percent of the nation’s man-made greenhouse gas emissions, we strongly support the aircraft CO2 standards put forth by CAEP, as they will further support our global aviation coalition’s emissions goals to achieve 1.5 percent annual average fuel efficiency improvements through 2020 and carbon neutral growth from 2020, subject to critical aviation infrastructure and technology advances achieved by government and industry,” Young said.

The particulate matter (PM) standard recommended by CAEP transitions the current smoke standard to a standard that also reflects non-volatile particular matter emissions controls. “The smoke standard has been overwhelmingly successful, resulting in the virtual elimination of smoke emissions from aircraft,” Young said. “By transitioning the smoke standard as proposed, we can build on that success to focus further on non-visible particulate matter emissions.”

A4A and its member airlines are committed to reducing emissions from aviation and, with fuel-efficiency improvements saving more than 3.8 billion metric tons of CO2 emissions since 1978, have a strong record of meeting that commitment. By investing billions of dollars in fuel-saving aircraft and engines, innovative technologies and advanced avionics, the U.S. airline industry improved its fuel efficiency by 120 percent between 1978 and 2014, resulting in emissions savings equivalent to taking 23 million cars off the road each of those years. Further, the U.S. airlines carried 20 percent more passengers and cargo in 2014 than they did in 2000, while emitting 8 percent less CO2, improving their fuel efficiency by 31 percent over this time period alone. Even so, A4A supports additional advances in technology, operations and infrastructure to further reduce emissions and ongoing work at ICAO to develop a global carbon emissions offset mechanism that could be used to “fill the gap” should concerted industry and government investments in those measures otherwise not allow the aviation sector to achieve its goal of carbon neutral growth from 2020.


Annually, commercial aviation helps drive nearly $1.5 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 11 million U.S. jobs. Airlines for America (A4A) vigorously advocates on behalf of the American airline industry as a model of safety, customer service and environmental responsibility and as the indispensable network that drives our nation’s economy and global competitiveness.

America needs a cohesive National Airline Policy that will support the integral role the nation’s airlines play in connecting people and goods globally, spur the nation’s economic growth and create more high-paying jobs. A4A works collaboratively with the airlines, labor groups, Congress and the Administration to improve air travel for everyone.

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