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Sustainable Development – A Major Challenge to the Aviation Industry

Sustainable Development – A Major Challenge to the Aviation Industry

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Published by spitraberg
The aviation industry that has experienced a phenomenal growth since the World War II is increasingly facing the problems of success: environmental concerns are growing. The environmental impacts of aviation are growing, which include aircraft noise, local air quality, aircraft engine emissions and the disposal of end-of-life aircraft.
Approximately 30 million people worldwide in 1998 were exposed to levels of aircraft noise recognized as noise nuisance. Emissions of NOx, volatile organic compounds, CO and particulate matter (PM) are local air quality concerns in the immediate vicinity of airports. Combustion of aircraft fuel produces emissions, a significant proportion being emitted at altitude, which give rise to serious environmental concerns including contribution to climate change. Approximately 6000 commercial aircraft will reach their end-of-life and go out of service in next 20 years. Their disposal both in terms of the environment and public health is important.
Every quality protagonist in the aviation industry and the industry as a whole must adapt to the concept of life cycle thinking. The quality managers must act as environmentalists.
The aviation industry that has experienced a phenomenal growth since the World War II is increasingly facing the problems of success: environmental concerns are growing. The environmental impacts of aviation are growing, which include aircraft noise, local air quality, aircraft engine emissions and the disposal of end-of-life aircraft.
Approximately 30 million people worldwide in 1998 were exposed to levels of aircraft noise recognized as noise nuisance. Emissions of NOx, volatile organic compounds, CO and particulate matter (PM) are local air quality concerns in the immediate vicinity of airports. Combustion of aircraft fuel produces emissions, a significant proportion being emitted at altitude, which give rise to serious environmental concerns including contribution to climate change. Approximately 6000 commercial aircraft will reach their end-of-life and go out of service in next 20 years. Their disposal both in terms of the environment and public health is important.
Every quality protagonist in the aviation industry and the industry as a whole must adapt to the concept of life cycle thinking. The quality managers must act as environmentalists.

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Published by: spitraberg on Jan 13, 2009
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05/27/2013

 
Sustainable Development – A Major Challenge to the Aviation Industry
 
Mahmood Manzoor
Senior Specialist, Messier-Dowty Inc, Canada.mahmood.manzoor@messier-dowty.com , mahmood.manzoor@gmail.com
Abstract
 
The aviation industry that has experienced a phenomenal growth since the World War II isincreasingly facing the problems of success: environmental concerns are growing. Theenvironmental impacts of aviation are growing, which include aircraft noise, local air quality, aircraft engine emissions and the disposal of end-of-life aircraft. Approximately 30 million people worldwide in 1998 were exposed to levels of aircraft noiserecognized as noise nuisance. Emissions of NOx, volatile organic compounds, CO and  particulate matter (PM) are local air quality concerns in the immediate vicinity of airports.Combustion of aircraft fuel produces emissions, a significant proportion being emitted at altitude, which give rise to serious environmental concerns including contribution toclimate change. Approximately 6000 commercial aircraft will reach their end-of-life and go out of service in next 20 years. Their disposal both in terms of the environment and  public health is important.
 
 Every quality protagonist in the aviation industry and the industry as a whole must adapt tothe concept of life cycle thinking. The quality managers must act as environmentalists.
 Keywords:Greenhouse gas, Climate change, Aircraft emissions, Alternative fuels, Mitigation,
1. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Sustainable development can be broadly defined as the development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their needs. An‘unsustainable situation’ occurs when natural capital (sum of resources of nature) is consumed fasterthan it can be replenished. Thus ‘sustainability’ requires that human activity consumes natural capitalat a rate it can be replenished
naturally
. Theoretically, a long-term environmental degradation on aglobal scale will not be able to sustain human population and could imply extinction of humanity.
2. THE AVIATION INDUSTRY AN OVERVIEW
 
The Aviation industry is an innovative industry that drives the global economic and socialprogress. It connects people, countries and cultures; provides access to global markets and generatestrade and tourism. It also forges links between developed and developing nations.The aviation industry has experienced a phenomenal growth since the World War II. From almost azero level, today approximately 2,000 airlines operate a total fleet of 23,000 aircraft around the world.They serve some 3,750 airports through a route network of several million kilometers managed byaround 160 air navigation service providers.The aviation industry today transports 2.2 billion passengers annually. The total value of goods transported by air represents 35% of all international trade. The industry caters for 40% of international tourists travel. The Aviation industry today has 32 million jobs worldwide andcontributes nearly 8% (or US$ 3,557 billion) to world gross domestic product (GDP).
2.1 Growth Forecasts for 2007 to 2011.
IATA’s latest forecasts show that passenger and airfreight growth will continue over the fiveyears to 2011.
This growth is expected due to trade and air transport liberalization, new leisurepatterns, high income elasticity of demand and increasing value of goods to be transported.
The international passenger growth is expected to slow slightly, domestic passenger growth toimprove slightly and international freight growth to remain at a similar level. International passengernumbers are forecasted to grow at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 5.1% and the domestic
 
passenger numbers at an AAGR of 5.3% between 2007 and 2011.
On the freight side, internationalairfreight is forecasted to increase at an AAGR of 4.8%.However, the airline industry and these forecasts remain exposed to several risks, rangingfrom temporary negative impacts (e.g. security scares), high fuel prices and slower than expectedgrowth in the global economy. These risks mean that volatility cannot be discounted. However, thefundamental factors driving growth for both passengers and airfreight remain reasonably positive.
3. ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH AVIATION
The global community is now increasingly facing the problems of the success of aviationindustry: the environmental impacts of aviation are growing. At the global level, greenhouse gas(GHG) effects and depletion of the ozone layer due to high altitude emissions are problems. At aregional level, acidification, eutrophication and formation of tropospheric ozone by emissions of airpollutants are the concerns. At a local level, particularly in the immediate vicinity of airports, concernsfocus on the potential health and environmental effects of noise and air pollution from emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NO
x
), volatile organic compounds and particulates.The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that aviation industry’sshare of global carbon dioxide (CO
2
) emissions will grow from 2% today to 3% by 2050. Thisevolution is based on a growth in CO
2
emissions of 2-3% per year with an annual traffic growth of 5%.In spite of its relatively modest share of carbon emissions, the aviation industry has a responsibility toensure it is environmentally efficient.Environmental problems associated with aviation include:1)
 
Aircraft noise emissions2)
 
Local air quality3)
 
Aircraft engine emissions4)
 
Disposal of the end-of-life aircraftICAO’s work on the two problems, aircraft noise and engine emissions, is undertaken by theOrganization’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP), which reports to and makesrecommendations to the Council of ICAO. CAEP and its predecessor committees have been workingon aviation noise emissions for some 30 years and on aircraft engine emissions for some 20 years.
3. AIRCRAFT NOISE EMISSIONS3.1 Description of the Problem
The perception of noise by people is dependent on such factors as its intensity, its frequencyand the length of time they are exposed to it. Aircraft noise, including night noise, is associated withsleep disturbance, long-term adverse health effects and learning difficulties. Much of the research,however, is either contradictory or inconclusive.However, according to analysis of the Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection(CAEP), using the ICAO Model for Assessing the Global Exposure to the Noise of Transport Aircraft(MAGENTA), approximately 30 million people worldwide in 1998 were exposed to levels of aircraftnoise recognized as noise nuisance (i.e. DNL55). Approximately 3.5 million people were exposed tohigher levels (i.e. DNL65) that require noise mitigation provisions. Disturbance by aircraft noisecontinues to be as the single most important environmental issue around airports.
 3.2 Sources of Aircraft Noise
The main environmental noise impacts of aviation include aircraft landing & take-off, taxiingand auxiliary power unit (APU) use; aircraft servicing and maintenance; and noise from airportoperations such as engine testing, the use of ground power units and construction activities. Noisedisturbance, measured in terms of people exposed to a given noise level, is greater at large airportsclose to key populations. Paradoxically, these airports are the most attractive to the traveling public.
3.3 Future Threats
Although noise levels have been declining due to the introduction of new quieter aircraft andthe retirement of older aircraft, these improvements are being offset by the growth in air traffic and theencroachment of conurbations upon the airport.
 
While looking into the future, new noise issues are anticipated to emerge. Aircraft operatingrestrictions, designed to reduce aircraft noise exposure close to airports may, paradoxically, increasethe noise for communities away from the airports. Aircraft noise complaints from communities 25 to30 kilometers away from airports have already been witnessed.Additionally, with the increase of low-cost carrier operations, principally at secondaryairports, the aircraft noise will become an issue for communities near such airports.
3.4 Mitigation measures
Mitigation of aircraft noise involves actions at the source of the noise, along the transmissionpath between the source and those affected and at places where they are affected. In the case of aircraftnoise, where the source is traveling fast in three dimensions, this translates into:
 
Reduction at source by technological progress (quieter aircraft and certification standards)
 
Land-use planning and management
 
Noise abatement operational procedures
 
Aircraft operating restrictions
 
Use of noise charges
3.4.1 Technological progress
For the past 40 years, aircraft and engine manufacturers – and the research groups –haveworked aggressively to develop low noise component technology resulting in aircraft noise levelsreduction by approximately 20dB. The advent of the high bypass ratio (8:1 to 10:1 and beyond)aircraft engine provided a revolutionary reduction in engine noise. Research programs aim to achievefurther 50% reduction in aircraft noise levels by 2020.Technological progress has enabled aircraft noise to be greatly reduced, but additional noisereduction requires a long-term commitment. In the US, the Advanced Subsonic Transport (AST) noisereduction program and the Quiet Aircraft Technology (QAT) program is in progress. These programsare conducted by the NASA and FAA. In Europe, Aero-Acoustics Methods for Fan Noise Predictionand Control (FANPAC), the X-Noise framework and SILENCE® while in Japan, the HypersonicResearch (HYPR) program and Eco-smart Propulsion Research (ESPR) program were launched.
3.4.2 Noise Certification Standards
The ICAO noise certification standards reflect the best noise reduction technology that can beintegrated into the aircraft fleet.
 
The first generation of jet-powered aircraft (e.g. B707 and DC-8) were not covered by anystandard. Consequently these aircraft are referred to as non-noise certificated (NNC) aircrafts
 
The first standards targeted aircraft certified before 6
th
October 1977 (e.g. B727 & DC-9) andare contained in the Chapter 2 of the Annex 16 to the Convention on International CivilAviation.
 
The standards were revised as engine and airframe technology advanced. Consequently,stricter standards were introduced which targeted aircraft certified after 6
th
October 1977 (e.g.B737, B767 & A319). These standards are contained in the Chapter 3 of the Annex 16.
 
With further advancement of the engine and airframe technology the standards were madefurther strict. The new standards are contained in Chapter 4 of the Annex 16 and target theaircraft certified after 1
st
January 2006.
3.4.3 Land-use Planning and Management
Land-use planning and management is an effective means to ensure that the activities nearbyairports are compatible with aviation. The main goal is to minimize the population affected by aircraftnoise by introducing land-use zoning around airports. This also ensures that the gains achieved by thereduced noise of the latest generation of aircraft are not offset by further residential developmentaround airports.

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