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EASA emission regulations inch closer to being established

Regulations that would establish updated European-built jet aircraft CO2 emissions standards endorsed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have moved forward with the recent publication of an EASA Opinion.

The Opinion clarifies how and the reasons behind the adoption of the emissions requirement rulemaking the agency proposed earlier this year.

These rules would be the initial salvo of the ICAO recommended global standards for CO2 aircraft emissions that would first be applied to large subsonic jets, including business jets, for which the application for a type certificate was submitted on or after Jan. 1, 2020.

The standard would affect new deliveries of current in-production large jet aircraft starting Jan. 1, 2023. All covered in-production airplanes must comply with the standard by Jan. 1, 2028.

In-production aircraft that by 2028, still do not meet the standard will no longer be allowed to be manufactured unless their designs are sufficiently altered. Jet airplanes with an mtow of less than 12,500 pounds are exempted, as are turboprops with an mtow of less than 19,000 pounds and all piston-engine airplanes.

Along with the new aircraft emissions necessities, operational efficiency measures will be regulated by the ICAO Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, or CORSIA.  Essentially, covered craft operators must offset the rise in their carbon emissions in international flights on an annual basis from a 2020 baseline.

However, most business aircraft operators will not be regulated by CORSIA because there is an exemption for aircraft that emit less than 10,000 tonnes of CO2 in international flights each year. According to the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), even the BBJ and ACJ produce less than 6,600 tonnes a year (assuming 900 hours of flight time) and less than 3,000 tonnes when flying 400 hours annually.

The EASA Opinion stated that the 43 comments it had received from state organizations and from industry on the proposed change published in January were “generally positive, with some suggestions for clarification of the text.” Four comments were received from non-governmental organizations that asked for the methodology of the standard-setting procedure and the “environmental effectiveness” of the final decisions.

EASA executive director Patrick Ky tackled the environmental effectiveness, saying: “These new aviation environmental standards will contribute to improved local air quality and to the overall climate change objectives of the Paris Agreement,” he said. “EASA is committed to a cleaner and quieter aviation sector through a variety of measures, including aircraft engine environmental standards, while supporting improved operational practices, sustainable aviation fuels, market-based measures and voluntary industry initiatives.”

EASA is set to adopt the final rule during the fourth quarter of 2018.

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