Federal Aviation Administration

Office of Environment and Energy

Aviation & Emissions
A Primer

January 2005

Aviation & Emissions
A Primer

Aviation plays a key role in the economic prosperity and lifestyle Americans enjoy. Our economy benefits

greatly from the ability to move people and products all over the globe - quickly and safely. Aviation

contributes to our quality of life - allowing us to visit friends and relatives, to travel, to experience new

places, to shrink the borders of the world. The statistics are impressive. In 1903 the year of the Wright

brothers’ first flight, earth’s population was 1.6 billion1; today, over 1.6 billion people use the world’s

airlines2. The air transport industry provides 28 million direct, indirect, and induced jobs worldwide3. And

aircraft carry about 40% of the value of all world trade4, driving the “just in time” deliveries critical to

productivity improvements.

Air transport links our world and is a key tenet of continued economic development and security for the

U.S. However, aviation also has environmental impacts – primarily noise and atmospheric emissions.

While aircraft noise issues are better known, less focus has been placed on emissions. This paper provides

a brief overview of important issues regarding aviation emissions.

What emissions come from aviation?
Aircraft produce the same types of emissions as your automobile. Aircraft jet engines, like many other

vehicle engines, produce carbon dioxide (CO2), water vapor (H2O), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon

monoxide (CO), oxides of sulfur (SOx), unburned or partially combusted hydrocarbons (also known as

volatile organic compounds (VOCs)), particulates, and other trace compounds. A small subset of the VOCs

and particulates are considered hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). Aircraft engine emissions are roughly

composed of about 70 percent CO2, a little less than 30 percent H2O, and less than 1 percent each of NOx,

CO, SOx, VOC, particulates, and other trace components including HAPs. Aircraft emissions, depending on

whether they occur near the ground or at altitude, are primarily considered local air quality pollutants or

greenhouse gases, respectively. Water in the aircraft exhaust at altitude may have a greenhouse effect, and


Carbon in fuel combines with oxygen airport ground level operations and during in the air to produce CO2 . For hydrocarbons and CO. except CO2 – Carbon dioxide is the product of complete hydrocarbons and CO. landing and takeoff. the split is closer to 30 percent ground level emissions and 70 percent NOx – Nitrogen oxides are produced when air passes through high temperature/high pressure combustion at higher altitudes. The bulk of aircraft H2O – Water vapor is the other product of complete emissions (90 percent) occur at higher altitudes. hazardous air pollutants. present in essentially all power units providing electricity and air hydrocarbon fuels. The growth of air travel for the smog. Particulates can be solid or liquid. combine with oxygen from the air conditioning to aircraft parked at airport terminal during combustion. About 10 Emissions from Combustion Processes percent of aircraft emissions of all types. jet fuel. both passenger travel 2 . and CO – Carbon monoxide is formed due to the shuttle buses and vans serving passengers. Airport access and ground support HC – Hydrocarbons are emitted due to incomplete fuel combustion. and nitrogen and oxygen present in the air combine to form NOx. which also may have a greenhouse effect. gates. What determines aviation emissions? Ozone – O3 is not emitted directly into the air but is formed by the reaction of VOCs and NOx in the Aviation emissions reflect the level of overall presence of heat and sunlight. are referred to as particulates.Aviation & Emissions – A Primer occasionally this water produces contrails. are produced during combustion of hydrocarbon fuels like gasoline. Other incomplete combustion of the carbon in the fuel. combustion as hydrogen in the fuel combines with oxygen in the air to produce H2O. Aircraft are not the only source of aviation emissions. and diesel. They are also referred to as volatile vehicles produce similar emissions. ground equipment that services aircraft. For this reason it is an important consideration past several decades has been very rapid. emissions sources at the airport include auxiliary SOx – Sulfur oxides are produced when small quantities of sulfur. stationary airport power sources. and are small enough to be inhaled. and Particulates – Small particles that form as a result of construction equipment operating on the airport. Many VOCs are also vehicles include traffic to and from the airport. Such organic compounds (VOCs). incomplete combustion. Ozone forms readily in the atmosphere and is the primary constituent of aviation activity. in the environmental impact of aviation. Demand for travel services.

It only faces competition on Technological advancement has reduced aircraft short trips or when moving low value or high fuel consumption and emissions significantly volume products. According to the U. chart6 below shows the growth of aviation and 250 the economy. Growth Index 2000 = 100 Gross Domestic Product 150 300. For most What have been the trends long-distance travel.0 Long range forecasts of aviation activity anticipate continued 50.0 growth but at a somewhat slower rate than for the U. 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 economy as a whole.S. which is in population.0 Commercial Aircraft Operations 100 250. Aviation & Emissions – A Primer and freight transportation. The global economies.0 Growth Index 1981 = 100 Airline RMT 50 200. is increasing forecast is for continued strong growth as shown substantially. however. Looking to the future.0 0 Roadway VMT 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 100. the over the last 30 years and this is expected to continue in the future. Demand for air travel grows as the 200 economy grows and prosperity increases.0 Gross Domestic Product 150.S. in aviation emissions? convenience. More and more also grow. 3 . and 90 percent increase in GDP between structural changes in both the domestic and 1980 and 2000 have driven this demand. the worldwide transportation system is becoming an integrated transportation network. and our national security. aviation’s speed. This is consistent with Transportation Statistics5 a 21. 32 percent increase in the labor increasing largely in response to very positive force. growth of the aircraft fleet and grown significantly. For 20 years aviation growth in the U. expansion and further development of existing Over the long term. Bureau of in the following graph7. outpaced the growth of the economy although all transportation has As a result. This also means that air transportation will continue to grow rapidly emissions from aviation activity are expected to to support our economic productivity.5 percent increase the demand for transportation generally.S. we expect that demand for airports are expected. and cost overcome consideration of other travel modes. our quality grow and concerns about aviation emissions will of life.

lightweight.655 4.667 18.000 7. 4 .0 other aircraft will be added to accommodate the growing demand for air travel. New aircraft also are resulted in major advancements in energy added to the fleet for new capacity.091 17. operational. aviation emissions 93 95 97 99 01 03 05 07 09 11 13 15 19 19 19 19 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 are a relatively small contributor to air quality Aircraft fuel efficiency has historically improved by about one percent per year.000 12. however.000 next chart shows the trend and projections in 10. efficiency and environmental performance.984 complex operational strategies.600 Retained in 2. The 8. existing aircraft are retired and engines to modern high-bypass turbofans replaced with new aircraft.000 22. 24.000 1. While small. The chart below.717 typically remain in the fleet for 35-40 years.000 Growth 20. These aircraft will be replaced and 100. aviation emissions cannot be ignored.000 8 6. International Civil Aviation Organization and engine control systems.662 Replacement 10.0 70.0 lower emissions. the industry developed and 2002. and employed vast (ICAO) report 9. The new fleet will be much more energy efficient and have Fuel Efficiency Index 1993 = 100 90.0 in local air pollutants? 40. high-strength capabilities. aerodynamic efficiency and integrate highly Number of aircraft 24.000 6.408 12. 0 2002 2010 2020 110.0 compare to general trends 50. many of today’s aircraft will be retired as they reach the end of their life.384 14. Aviation & Emissions – A Primer The industry’s historical transition from piston As they age.000 4.0 How do aviation emissions 60.000 service aircraft fuel economy over time. 70% of the fleet will be aircraft added since During this same era.0 Compared to other sources. This trend is expected to continue for the concerns both with regard to local air quality and foreseeable future. automated navigational. By 2020. greenhouse gas emissions.0 Over an 18-year period. actual forecast 80.317 slowly as commercial passenger service aircraft 12. illustrates this transition of the new computational capabilities to improve international commercial aircraft fleet. which will have advanced technology and deployed new. replicated from an materials.000 Changes to fleet average fuel economy progress 16.000 18.

according to their report HC National Air Quality 2001 Status and Trends10. however. particulate matter. Since esssentially all NOx comes from 50 combustion processes. industry. has proven to 100 NOx be the most difficult pollutant to control both Emissions Index 1980 = 100 90 CO SOx nationally and for aviation. considerably more progress has been made with HC and CO than with NOx. NOx comes from a 80 HC 70 wide variety of sources in all sectors of the PM10 60 economy. ozone. and lead) have declined by 25 0. electric utilities. the great deal of progress has been made reducing emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome emissions of HC and CO. the war on terrorism in Iraq. and a generally difficult economic 5 .5 CO percent nationally. transporting one passenger one mile. a key constituent of ozone. 40 1980 1985 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 and transportation are significant emitters and Local air quality pollutants have declined steadily over the past several years.4 percent of the Aircraft emissions have also declined over time inventory as can be seen in the illustration12 on when you consider the emissions from the following page. 110 NOx. 0 As can be seen in the following chart. sulfur dioxide. greater 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 progress has been made with some individual Aircraft emissions of all species have declined over time. aggregate emissions of 1. emissions inventory has recently declined further Total aircraft emissions have increased. The following chart11 shows that relative aircraft Aviation’s contribution to the national NOx emissions have fallen consistently over time. however. Currently aviation contributes 0. Aviation & Emissions – A Primer In the past three decades.0 Relative Emissions/passenger-mile NOx the air pollutants EPA regulates (nitrogen CO2 dioxide. As with emissions nationally. as air travel growth has been interrupted during since aviation has grown considerably over the the past two to three years due to the terrorist same period. NOx has been the most challenging pollutant to make up the largest share of the total inventory. constrain and progress has lagged that of other pollutants. H2O carbon monoxide. (SARS). pollutants than with others. a acts of 9/11.

the 50 largest airports in the country. painting.S. 37 of the 50 Each square represents 1% of total emissions inventory largest airports are in ozone nonattainment areas. Total national pollutant inventory numbers do farm equipment. attain) aviation’s contribution to NOx emission National Ambient Air Quality Standards13. similar drop in emissions. which is also where aviation bakeries. boats. out of 3. we can examine local emission inventories. and vehicle fueling. emissions have recently resumed. To provide 6 . state. and around cities. locomotives. industrial more than ten. activity primarily occurs. • Non-Road Mobile sources – aircraft. that do not meet the new 8- hour ozone standard and are considered nonattainment areas. construction equipment. trucks. inventories in several metropolitan areas. cities today. emission inventories.Transport Transport Electric Utilities On-Road Vehicles Industry Non-Road Vehicles To calculate aviation’s contribution to regional Commercial/Institutional Aviation Misc. and not tell the full story with regard to aviation’s • Area sources – small sources that contribution in regions with air quality problems. Manufacturing A multitude of sources comprises air quality area While all transportation makes up more than 55 percent of the total national NOx inventory.142 counties nationally. The Clean Air Act requires EPA to identify air quality areas and to The table on the following page summarizes determine whether they comply with (i. Comparing this list to the Transport location of primary U. According to EPA data14. area/point sources NOx. ground support equipment.4 percent. airports. These conditions have caused a • Point sources – large stationary. aviation represents only about 0. are not likely to have a permanent effect on air buses. or local regulations. environment.S. However. individually have low emissions but that are The worst local air quality generally occurs in significant when combined throughout the area like dry cleaning establishments. these factors • On-Road Mobile sources – cars. and lawn and garden equipment. Non. All of Ozone is by far the principal air quality problem these areas have at least one airport that is among in U. Aviation & Emissions – A Primer there are currently 474 counties.percent decline in air traffic and a facilities that are regulated under Federal. and other vehicles licensed for transportation and growth of travel demand and highway travel.e.

(Inventories are computed from available data for 1996 Atlanta & Dallas/Ft. and Los Angeles make only a small contribution to regional International had nearly 800. 12 (EWR). 44 (SNA).8% 14. 1999 Houston. LGA. 13 (JFK).000 aircraft emissions.1% International (ATL)17 Chicago Nonattainment 2 (ORD).0% 10.S. Airport National Rank Ozone Attainment Airport Contribution Aircraft Contribution 15 16 (enplanements) Area Status to Area NOx Inventory to Non-Road NOx Inventory Hartsfield Atlanta 1 Marginal 2. categorized as Angeles International are the three busiest U. New York. except for Seattle-Tacoma.3% Intercontinental (IAH)21 New York (JFK.5% Area (ORD.5% International (STL)24 Boston Logan 20 Moderate 0. 51 (ONT). contribution that needs to be dealt with effectively. are nonattainment for NOx under the new 8-hour ground-level ozone designation.9% Quality Area (DFW.7% International (SEA)23 St. Severe 1.8-2. Aviation & Emissions – A Primer a context.7% 3.7% 2.9% 6. contribute only a small percentage of NOx emissions to regional inventories even in cities with the greatest concentration of aviation activity.8% EWR)22 21 (LGA) Seattle-Tacoma 15 Attainment 1.3% International (BOS)25 Airports. Chicago O’Hare had over 900. Louis Lambert 17 Moderate 1.000 from multiple airports was included. EPA’s most restrictive airports. While it is aircraft operations and enplaned almost 32 apparent from this data that aviation emissions million passengers. LGB.4% 8. even at the largest airports and even operations and enplaned almost 27 million in areas with the worst air quality. MDW)18 South Coast California 3 (LAX).0% 13. DAL. ONT. aviation’s contribution was less than aircraft operations and enplaned over 37 million two percent even where the cumulative NOx passengers. it is still a passengers. Chicago O’Hare. In 2002.1% 19. 61 (BUR ). 28 (MDW) Moderate 0. All of the cities shown include at least one of the 20 largest airports in the country and. Louis. Atlanta. Seattle & Boston. Moderate 4. and Los In the Southern California area.000 designation. AFW)20 Houston Bush 8 Moderate 0. 2001 South Coast) 7 . including aircraft. and all other vehicles operating around the airport. ground support equipment. 2000 Chicago & St. Worth. Atlanta had nearly 900.5% 5.7% (BUR. “severe” nonattainment. 53 (DAL) Moderate 6. LAX. SNA)19 93 (LGB) Dallas/Fort Worth Air 4 (DFW).

000 Aviation has grown faster than other modes of 4. face the twin challenges of meeting new ozone 8 . However. Percentage growth in on-road emissions is small due to the large baseline emissions.000 emissions compare to other 7. However. 500 Cumulative Percentage Growth In the future. as the next chart shows27..e. Aircraft. This is in contrast outpaced on-road (i.000 transportation sources? 6. pressure on aviation sources will of emissions of other transport modes far exceeds likely remain as many states and localities will aviation’s NOx contribution.000 How do aviation local 8. NOx emissions from on-road 400 vehicles should fall in response to the most 300 recent environmental regulations. on the 200 other hand. cars and trucks) NOx to cars and trucks that primarily operate within a emissions growth. single air quality region and always at ground 600 level28.000 3.000 the future. Aviation & Emissions – A Primer 9. aviation’s 1.000 0 contribution to local air quality inventories On-Road Railroad Marine Aviation compared to other transportation sources has Total NOx emissions from on-road transportation dwarf emissions from all other transportation modes combined remained modest. even if the other 0 On-Road Railroad Marine Aviation sources were able to reduce their emissions by Aviation and marine transportation grew substantially between 1970 and 1998 resulting in large percentage half.000 transportation and is expected to outpace them in 2. will be challenged to reduce their 100 total NOx emissions. (1998 data). aviation NOx growth in NOx emissions. the quantity Nonetheless. emissions would still be less than 3 percent of the transportation NOx inventory by 2020. a highly unlikely occurrence. This is not surprising as most of an aircraft’s For example. Despite this growth. the operations take place at altitude where emissions rate of growth in aviation NOx emissions has far do not affect local air quality.000 Tons of NOx (000) 5. as the chart below26 shows.

and reduced industrial output that year in addition to governmental establishments. shows the recent growth of total greenhouse gas Passenger cars. While there are 9 .29 comprised of a variety of different emission sources. The following graph30 taking off or landing every few minutes. the majority of aviation aviation emissions to other sources in local air emissions occur at higher altitudes. Growth in greenhouse gas emissions is permitted. thus quality areas. Aviation & Emissions – A Primer and particulate matter standards at the same time compare the composite of sources that make up non-aviation source reductions become more an airport to another emission source like an difficult and costly. Power boilers and the warm winter. are quite different from non- impact of contrails to see whether they have a transportation sources. For example.S. For these reasons it is difficult to continues to expand in the future. produce contrails. Scientists in the U. the total mass of generating greenhouse gases and potentially emissions coming from an airport may be contributing to climate change. Aircraft arrive at the airport. as is similar equipment at other expected to resume as the economy recovers and locations. Also. and taxis calling emissions in the U. 2001 reflects the slow economic growth and also serving homes and retail. and around the world are researching the potential Airports. Like cities. commercial. Can a comparison be made between aviation emissions What role does aviation and non-transportation emissions play with regard sources? to greenhouse gas issues? There is an understandable interest in comparing As noted earlier. they are significant impact on the greenhouse effect. however. which reduced fuel use for chillers at the airport are independently heating. shuttle buses. industrial facility or power plant even when their magnitude of emissions is similar. under comparable to those of a power plant or certain conditions. with a different aircraft been building worldwide. stay for a Concern regarding greenhouse gas emissions has short period and depart. The drop in emissions in on the airport do not operate there exclusively.S. aircraft engine exhaust can petroleum refinery in the same region.

the war on terrorism in Iraq.S. 6.S.S. emissions of greenhouse gases. 200 150 Transport Each square represents 1% of total emissions inventory 100 Non.600 of total global fossil fuel combustion emissions. aviation 6. greenhouse emissions remains constant. As air travel recovers in National greenhouse gas emissions in 2001 the coming years. greenhouse gas emissions are expected to resume their came from all sectors of the economy with all climb. According to the projection. aircraft greenhouse transportation makes up about 27 percent and gas emissions in the U. In the U. The recent downturn is expected to be temporary due to economic recession. The U. the 7. Aviation & Emissions – A Primer many different greenhouse gases.400 Greenhouse gas emissions from U. will increase 60 aviation about 2.000 majority of which come from commercial 6. With recovery and expansion the upward trend is the relationship between aircraft operations and forecast to continue. CO2 and NOx greenhouse gas inventory.100 7. fleet at about three percent of the total greenhouse emissions from fossil fuel. Global estimates32 are are generally most relevant from an aviation similar with emissions of the world’s aircraft perspective.Transport Transport 50 Electric Utilities On-Road Vehicles 0 Note scale change Industry Non-Road Vehicles 1990 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 Agriculture Aviation Commercial Greenhouse gas emissions from aviation have declined recently due to Residential the fall off in air travel following the terrorist acts of 9/11. The chart below31 breaks down national emissions track expected growth in aviation.500 6.700 6.900 aviation. transportation equal to 27% of the total 10 .300 have grown over the past 10 years and are 6.800 sources that contribute approximately 25 percent Tg CO2 Eq. This compares with all transportation 6. As such. greenhouse gas emissions grew steadily throughout the 1990s as the projection shown below conservatively assumes economy expanded.S. 6.7 percent of the national percent by 202534.. and the worldwide recession. 350 300 250 Tg CO2 Eq.200 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 projected to increase in the future33.

followed by aircraft and automobiles. this has been. Since the fuels are similar. Rail has the lowest energy improved substantially over the past several decades. in the 4000 U. especially for aircraft. The chart below36 shows how significant emissions among different transportation modes. aircraft and automobiles have very similar Automobiles 2000 energy intensities. with automobiles at 3. with personal trucks and transit buses as the least energy efficient. However. Btu/passenger-mile 8000 Aircraft 6000 As you can see in the following chart35. Aviation & Emissions – A Primer How do aviation’s among all transport modes.666 The energy intensity of aircraft and automobiles has Btu/passenger mile.543 0 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 Btu/passenger mile versus airlines at 3. that is the amount of energy consequently greenhouse gas emissions per consumed to transport one passenger one mile. Automobile energy intensity has fallen by almost one fifth use. The different modes use similar fuels and 12000 greenhouse gas emissions are directly related to 10000 fuel use. 11 . Personal trucks and greenhouse gas emissions transit buses have the highest energy intensities.S. and hence emissions. Aviation is substantially less than 1000 automobiles and personal trucks though significantly more than rail and buses. 6000 The pie chart37 at the top of the following page 5000 shows the total energy consumption for each 4000 transportation mode.. is passenger mile have changed over the past 35 a useful metric for comparing greenhouse gas years. 0 Automobiles Personal Transit Buses Commercial Intercity Rail Transit Rail Commuter Trucks Airlines (Amtrak) Rail given the greater potential to apply alternative Energy intensity in terms of energy used to carry one passenger one fuel technologies to land-based transport in the mile is lowest for rail. per passenger mile while aircraft energy intensity has fallen by three fifths during the same period. BTU/passenger-mile 3000 this is an indication of their total greenhouse gas 2000 emissions. compare to other Comparing the energy intensity of aircraft and transportation sources? cars shows how energy efficiency and Energy intensity.

For Commercial Airlines 11% example. must meet aviation. intercity and school buses) 4% independent state regulations.” or “are Airplanes (FAR Part 34). recreational boats. on-road vehicles. and safety. This comprehensive and complex aircraft have done nothing. instrumentation and control. meet Intercity Rail (Amtrack) <1% stringent Federal tailpipe standards set by EPA. general boilers and refrigeration chillers. varied regulations that constrain aviation efficient national air transport network. And FAA Automobiles certification is required for essentially all 56% Energy consumption by the aviation industry is only a small portion aviation equipment and processes. like power <1% Other (motorcycles. which take passengers to and from the airport. there are more than 60 standards38 that apply to aircraft engine design. Automobiles and personal trucks still account for the vast majority. aviation greenhouse gas Practically all aviation emission sources are emissions are likely to represent a greater share independently regulated through equipment- of transport sources over time. How are aviation emissions regulated? durability. among others. which are 28% Transit Buses 1% established by a variety of organizations. there are regulatory framework has enabled our safe and many. specific regulations. and coordination of civil reduce fuel consumption. emissions. Aviation & Emissions – A Primer next two decades.” In fact. both cars and aircraft The International Civil Aviation Organization have improved their energy intensity over time (ICAO) is a United Nations intergovernmental using new technologies. improved designs for energy conservation to implementation. advanced materials. materials of construction. Transit Rail <1% Commuter Rail Stationary sources on the airport. For example of transportation energy use. and body responsible for worldwide planning. These are in addition to the There is some misperception that aviation in Fuel Venting and Exhaust Emission general and airlines in particular are the “only Requirements for Turbine Engine Powered unregulated industry in the country. 12 . and operational guidelines. which guide getting a free ride on air quality. For example. standards and recommended Personal Trucks practices.” and “cars have compliance with EPA’s aircraft exhaust emission reduced their emissions by over 98% while standards.

premium placed on the safety of aircraft Emissions from the vast majority of these operation restricts the use of unproven new projects are well below the thresholds that trigger technologies. These standards agreed to in 1981. including general conformity certified or may not even exist. a “conformity determination. raising standards within the steps states are committed to taking to ensure capabilities of proven technologies and certified their cities enjoy healthy air. “conform” to the appropriate State ICAO has taken a “technology progressing” Implementation Plan. will require engine manufacturers to Protection recommended new certification produce new engines with advanced emission standards that represent a further 12 percent NOx control technologies. Earlier this year. These are the basis of FAA’s aircraft constrained by the General Conformity engine performance certification standards. General Conformity requires Federal agencies to assure that actions that would ICAO has long been the forum for evaluating the increase emissions in nonattainment areas environmental performance of aircraft engines. equipment with diesel engines. 1990. to be phased in between 2008 and ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental 2014. with an effective date of 2008.the very high most advanced analytical models available. ICAO sets emission standards for jet Airport air emissions from all sources also are engines. Each year the products (engines and aircraft) rather than a environmental impacts of several hundred “technology forcing” approach. Aviation & Emissions – A Primer aviation. which sets projects at airports throughout the country are standards based on technology that is not analyzed in detail. regulations of the Clean Air Act Amendments of established through EPA regulations. The reason for evaluations and analyses. percent NOx reduction over the 1996 standards EPA recently proposed new exhaust emission and a 33 percent reduction over the original standards for non-road diesel engines. projects a year that do require further analysis New standards go into effect for engines entering essentially are able to meet the needs of state air service beginning in 2004. These plans define the approach.” The two or three Current NOx standards were established in 1996. which reflect a 16 quality plans through minor project modification. which are used 13 . using the best data and ICAO’s approach is quite simple . standards. New ground support reduction.

They realize that of vehicles and equipment. according to Boeing. based options show that emission related levies are not cost-beneficial. open emissions trading. Dallas/Fort Worth environmental progress. but voluntary While there are no national or international arrangements and emissions trading may be cost regulations for greenhouse gas emissions that effective in limiting or reducing greenhouse gas apply to aircraft or other airport sources. utilities and an overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. FAA is working through ICAO to evaluate policy options to limit or There are a number of initiatives underway that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from aviation. the emissions. a coordinated effort this benefits local air quality through reduced between the aviation industry and the many emissions as well as regional air quality as a regulatory agencies that share environmental result of reduced power purchases from electric responsibility will continue. Additional analyses are underway at aviation industry has made significant strides ICAO to evaluate further emissions trading and here as well. such as voluntary both at airports and within the national aviation 14 . achieve emission performance comparable to Preliminary results from analyses of market- today’s automobiles.39 Fuel Under this multidimensional regulatory and economy and energy conservation are also voluntary structure. aviation has made significant priorities at many airports.Aviation & Emissions – A Primer only on airport property. which aviation emissions growth while allowing reduces all greenhouse gas emissions. Given the complexity of International Airport for example looks at the industry and the need for different strategies business practices at all of their facilities to and technological approaches for different types minimize energy consumption. will be required to meet agreements. the B-777 is 300 percent more efficient than its early jets. example. will achieve significant emissions reductions – Various market-based options. This new equipment will emission related levies are being analyzed. What is being done today to reduce aviation emissions? Looking to the future. and these standards. For continued expansion of air travel40. Aircraft have a long history of voluntary agreements as approaches to limit continuously improved fuel economy.

Also. working to establish a national agreement to Through the use of funding and emission credit reduce ground support equipment emissions at incentives. conversion of airport vehicles and ground This has proved challenging. airports. the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and the and environmental interest groups is currently Passenger Facility Charges (PFC) program. and it is still support equipment to low emission technologies. reduction programs. major airlines. First. eligibility for airport low emission projects under state and local environmental regulators. For operate in and around the airport. These new agreements will reduce initiative to reduce ground emissions at emissions by converting gasoline and diesel commercial service airports in all air quality equipment to electricity and alternative fuels. The new Voluntary Airport national stakeholders group made up of Low Emission (VALE) program expands representatives of FAA. FAA developed a pilot program. taxicabs. Airport police improvements with alternative fuel ground departments are using compressed natural gas support equipment. reduce emissions from ground support trucks. provision of terminal gate 15 . and other on-road vehicles that equipment and other airport vehicles. To reduce emissions from these vehicle fleets. with vehicles are being used for staff transportation EPA and DOE. many airports have independently voluntary programs underway at airports to taken action to reduce emissions from buses. to demonstrate air quality and customer service vehicles. buses in particular have been converted to compressed natural gas at a number of airports. Aviation & Emissions – A Primer system – in the next few years. The program is called the automobiles and maintenance departments are Inherently Low-Emissions Airport Vehicle using alternative fuel trucks. A nonattainment areas. Airport shuttle (ILEAV) Pilot Program. unclear whether it will be successful. California and Texas have agreements with the major airlines to Based on their experience with the ILEAV reduce emissions from their ground support Program. Hybrid-electric example. new clean diesel trucks are being used in airlines have engaged in voluntary emission heavy maintenance and construction. FAA and EPA have expanded the equipment. modification of airport infrastructure for alternative fuels. there are In addition. EPA. For example. the voluntary program includes the other airports in air quality nonattainment areas.

As a result. operating procedures can have both emissions improvements. combined with the growth of low out generally increases the rate of HC and CO cost point-to-point carriers and a significant emissions. ground support equipment. which is less efficient. Yield management tools have combustor temperatures are low and the engine allowed airlines to increase load factors. Standard often limited access. These constraints. and other factors. direct and indirect effect on aircraft emissions. The hub and power for a given operation like takeoff or climb spoke system. public. it is also worth noting that many Airlines generally employ standard procedures strategies for reducing the environmental impact for operating their aircraft to meet company of aviation are inherent to the intended design goals for safety. increase in the number and reach of regional and has little or no effect on CO2 emissions. adherence to flight schedules. which can directly influence the rate of recent changes have improved the system pollutant emissions. Other operating procedures have a more general 16 . hand. many regime. a pilot airlines. In during high power operations like takeoff when the past few years. On the other information. and operation of the air transport infrastructure. and weather. reduces the rate of NOx emissions. better meteorological combustor temperatures are high. high-speed and free flowing procedures vary by aircraft type. NOx emissions are higher efficiency and reduced environmental impact. looking at aviation more broadly.Aviation & Emissions – A Primer electricity and air for parked aircraft. access roadways are agreements. The use of alternative features minimize motor vehicle emissions and procedures or best practices offers some prospect keep them contained in areas away from the for reducing emissions. reducing engine moves more people on every flight. HC and CO emissions are higher during has allowed for optimized flight planning with low power operations like taxiing when shorter routing. and other related Fourth. has improved the efficiency of the entire program to explore retrofit technology for airport aviation network. fuel conservation. available in the cockpit in real time. Some procedures affect the engine-operating Third. complying with labor With airports for example. airport-specific and parking facilities are readily available. Second.

000 feet) adds flight levels and 12 million gallons of fuel during the year. navigation. routing. RVSM has been in use for transatlantic flights since 1997 and will become standard in New technologies to improve air traffic U. airspace alone CNS/ATM (communication.S.S. Aviation & Emissions – A Primer effect on engine use and can reduce all pollutants more efficient. many of these technologies will improve air traffic What steps are being taken management efficiency in the terminal area air to reduce aviation space. over the next 10-15 years43. New engine designs are efficiency and capability of runways. while arrival spacing and making ground operations 17 . domestic airspace starting in January 2005. Reducing use of its auxiliary power units by using ground vertical separation between aircraft from 2000 power whenever possible. Based on early tests of feet to 1000 feet separation at cruise altitude (i.. reduce congestion.Operational Opportunities to greater flexibility in flight scheduling and Minimize Fuel Use & Reduce Emissions42. As another example of alternative operating practices at an airport. in operation throughout the U. They will ensure more term? accurate approach routes to precisely keep The pace of technological change across the aircraft on track. with full implementation of RVSM44. which increases airspace capacity by as much as 85%. and consequently emissions in the longer- reduce aircraft fuel use.S. reducing improving fuel efficiency further. surveillance/air traffic management). Commonly referred to as each year are expected in U. the program they expect to save approximately above 29. These systems are expected to be simultaneously. will result in reduced emissions of all pollutants These routes are among the most fuel efficient at the airport as well41. They will increase the industry is increasing. Many of the strategies for long flights such as oceanic or cross-country discussed in this section are published in ICAO traffic and increasing their availability allows for Circular 303 .e. United Airlines launched A near term example is RVSM – Reduced a new initiative last year to reduce the average Vertical Separation Minimums. management will help reduce emissions in and Fuel savings of more than 500 million gallons around airports.

like new aircraft one of three areas: aerodynamics. It which often reduce system weight while has only been in the past 25 years that the providing more precise control. and control systems. which increase engine and hydraulic systems with electrical systems.” Eventually this will lead to guidelines for 18 . They require higher systems has come about by replacing mechanical engine pressure ratios. avoid unintended consequences. and hence generate more NOx. reducing all pollutants at the same time. Continued consumption (the effect on individual pollutants improvement in all areas is expected in the depends on the phase of flight most effected). FAA these systems and development of new systems and other stakeholders have recently initiated an for enhanced flight stability will contribute to effort to better understand and quantify these improved overall fuel efficiency. reduce emissions by reducing fuel reduction. interrelationships in an “environmental design space. Significant improvement of control improve fuel efficiency. Improvements of resulting NOx increase became a concern. weight designs. Some of the technologies in And new management strategies like load development for aerodynamic improvements management planning and code sharing are include the design of winglets for wing tips. temperatures. For example. by the wings. future45. New setting long term goals and standards that aircraft designs improve aerodynamics and optimize overall environmental performance and reduce weight thereby improving fuel efficiency. New air Aircraft design improvements mostly fall into traffic control technologies. and improved emission interrelationships that make it difficult manufacturing techniques that will produce to modify their design as a mitigation strategy smoother surfaces.Aviation & Emissions – A Primer simultaneously reducing NOx emissions. high-bypass turbofan simultaneously improving structural engines were introduced to reduce noise and performance. laminar flow controls or systems With regard to engines. New and improved metal since it forces a tradeoff among individual alloys and composite materials are being pollutants as well as between emissions and developed to reduce aircraft weight while noise. there are complex for wing surfaces to reduce drag. being used to optimize the entire system’s which reduce turbulence and vortex generation operation.

the ongoing has conducted both independently an in evolutionary change in technology has realized conjunction with airports and other substantial benefits over time. New tools are also being is directing a research program aimed at developed to understand and assess the significantly cutting emissions from aircraft environmental design space. aviation’s contribution to local air quality It takes approximately 10 to 15 years for fleet concerns and global emissions. in Modeling System (EDMS) has been developed their report Aviation and the Global to quantify emissions from aircraft and other Atmosphere47. However. of aviation on air quality. The System for technology. Aviation & Emissions – A Primer Aircraft technology development and capital analytical tools to quantify emissions more turnover follow relatively long cycles. especially climb out and cruise emission reduction lie in the future when we can emissions. EPA. the most significant opportunities for regime. engine and other operational changes. It is used routinely to improved by 75 percent in the past 40 years assess the impact of airport expansion projects through improvements in airframe design. assessing Aviation’s Global Emissions (SAGE) is being developed to assess the impact of While progress in the near. According to the organizations.and mid-terms is aircraft engine emissions during the whole flight expected. which accurately. FAA has developed 19 . ICAO. aircraft fuel efficiency has airport emission sources. and many other groups have conditions and forecasted technology. which are used to understand limits the pace of fundamental changes in design. aviation emission inventories. and assess been working to elucidate and characterize the operational and market-based measures and environmental issues for some time while NASA improvements. to evaluate engines48. The model will be able to develop derive benefits from aggressive research goals. The Emissions and Dispersion Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. interrelationships among all emissions and A comprehensive research program starts with a between emissions and noise due to changes in clear and complete understanding of the effects technology and operational procedures. both for baseline FAA. and rising load factors. These tools are average fuel efficiency to equal the efficiency of developed on a foundation of research that FAA the newest aircraft46.

concerns have been raised about the likelihood of these goals being met due The primary engine research project to achieve to budget restrictions. operational." Their strategy is to research a major commitment to researching aviation opportunities to reduce airframe weight and drag. NASA. and Transport Canada have made emissions. The goals of this Achieving research goals will allow the aviation program are to reduce NOx emissions of future industry to significantly reduce its environmental aircraft by 70 percent by 2007. and demonstration. and by 80 percent impact and begin to reduce its total emissions of beyond 2007 using 1996 ICAO standards as a NOx and CO2. however. emissions as well as noise through the Center of optimize engine systems. 40 years51. minimized impact of workforce capabilities enabling quieter and emissions on local air quality. pre-commercial aerospace research. and themes of their research program is to “protect environmentally friendly air transportation local environmental quality and the global system. To go from NASA state-of-the-art aircraft technology as a research to fleet average performance takes 20 to baseline49. climate by reducing aircraft noise and FAA. They also intend to reduce CO2 noted earlier it takes 10 to 15 years for fleet emissions of future aircraft by 25 percent and by average performance to achieve current new 50 percent for these same milestones using 2000 technology performance.Aviation & Emissions – A Primer NASA is the U.S. federal agency responsible for UEET project will develop and transfer to U. As baseline. in NASA’s Vehicle Skies: Reducing Environmental Impacts of Systems Program. According to NASA.S. secure. This project is currently underway. Emissions Mitigation. The National Research these objectives is the Ultra-Efficient Engine Council recently published a report. the 20 . For Greener Technology (UEET) project.50 The Center was NASA hopes their research program results in established in September 2003 to foster significant or total elimination of aircraft breakthrough technical. This takes time. industry critical turbine engine technologies that development. unnecessary aviation emissions due to operational procedures. Also. Through this. and optimize Excellence for Aircraft Noise and Aviation operations at and around airports. and elimination of cleaner aircraft. One of the key will contribute to enabling a safe. and greenhouse gas emissions.

while “the goals of Looking to the future. 1 Population Timeline. mind. Aircraft pose health concerns for our citizens or restrain engines have gotten more efficient and been aviation’s mobility and economic benefits designed with environmental performance in enjoyed by society.html.org 21 . operation of the complex aviation network have had a positive effect on the environment. And FAA is working in the being responsibly international arena to evaluate alternative controlled. FAA. Regulatory frameworks have developed to coordinated effort and continuing success in constrain emissions growth from many aviation technology research and development to achieve sources. FAA has a roadmap for the federal research program are admirable and continuing to mitigate the environmental impacts focused on the right issues. Aviation has progressively improved its environmental performance. It will take consistent.org/files/FAST%20FACTS-120341A. Aviation & Emissions – A Primer Aviation52.pbs. Fuel economy.iata. the schedule for of aviation. http://www. together with EPA and NASA. that concluded. This includes continuing to improve achieving the goals is unrealistic in view of its understanding of the role of aviation shrinking research budgets. FAA is working to call for further federal investment in engine with industry and other stakeholders to advance research and technology development.pdf 3 Ibid 4 http://www. And improvements to the efficient these goals. 2 http://www. is which is one strong indicator of environmental committed to ensuring aviation emissions do not performance. strategies for market-based opportunities for reducing emissions. has consistently improved. the performance of the national and international aviation system as well as to improve individual Aviation emissions are system components.org/kqed/population_bomb/danger/time.” The report went on emissions on the environment.atag.

FAA Long-Range Aerospace Forecasts Fiscal Years 2015. Final Environmental Impact Statement for 9.tx. [http://www. 2004.gov/bea/dn1.bea. Federal Highway Administration.Aviation & Emissions – A Primer 5 U. 2003.epa. VMT – U.S. 1996 inventory data. Transportation Indicators http://www. Upali. 17 U. Department of Transportation. 19 South Coast Air Quality Management District. December 2002 http://www.html. which is more representative for an annual value is from U. The higher value for in the area inventory data in the table is for a typical summer day. National Accounts Data http://www. Classifications of Ozone Nonattainment Areas. DFW International Airport.htm.cit. 9 Wickrama. 18 Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Federal Aviation Administration. cit. Department of Transportation. 2001. May 6.bts.S. RTM . November 6. Department of Transportation.U. Federal Aviation Administration. 2002. August 2001.epa. 8 Ibid. http://www. Traffic Volume Trends.S. 2020 and 2025. July 2000.S.fhwa.S. copy of Figure 8. A.S.pdf. U. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Transportation. June 16.ca.faa. 10 U.gov/oai/indicators/airtraffic/annual/1981- 2001. September 2002. 14 U.000-Foot Fifth Runway and Associated Projects: Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport. Environmental Protection Agency. Federal Aviation Administration. 21 U.gov/publications/transportation_indicators/december_2002/ . Title I – Provisions for Attainment and Maintenance of National Ambient Air Quality Standards. http://www.S. http://apo. Department of Transportation. Department of Transportation. Years Including 1980. June 21. http://www. Office of Aviation Policy and Plans.arb. Raymond Forde.php?F_DIV=0&F_YR=2001&F_AREA=AB&F_AB =SC . December 2002. Additional data provided by Mr.state. Illinois. 1985. Environmental Protection Agency.htm. February 2003. Chicago.htm. International Civil Aviation Organization. Department of Transportation.gov/air/airtrends/aqtrnd03/fr_table.S. June 2000.tnrcc. Final Environmental Assessment for the World Gateway Program and Other Capital Improvements: Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Committee on Environmental Protection. Data includes all airports in the nonattainment area including. The non-road data also is based on typical summer day. Dallas/Fort Worth Ozone Nonattainment Area Emission Data. 15 U. Federal Aviation Administration.bts. which is the ozone season and probably represents a worst case since it is the most active period for aviation activity. 22 .S. Report of the FESG/CAEP/6 Traffic and Fleet Forecast. 6 U.html. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.gov/airtrends/aqtrnd01/. Illinois 1999 Periodic Emissions Inventory And Milestone Demonstration. 2004.S. Federal Aviation Administration. 2001.gov/app/emsinv/emssumcat_query..gov/ozonedesignations/statedesig. December. 8-Hour Ground-level Ozone Designations. November 15. Department of Commerce. S.pdf . http://www. 16 U.S. 13 Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The lower value. http://www. Average Annual Emissions. 20 Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. Environmental Protection Agency. Historical Air Traffic Statistics.faa. Forecasting and Economic Analysis Support Group. Department of Transportation.us/air/aqp/ei/rsumdfw.pdf. National Air Quality 2001 Status and Trends. Environmental Protection Agency. Table 9-15.epa. 22 Compilation of data from the SIP inventories for New York and New Jersey provided by Mr. 12 U. FAA-APO-00-5. http://www.gov/arp/planning/stats/2002/CY02CommSerBoard. Enplanement Activity at Primary Airports. 1990. Region 2. Kevin McGarry. http://www. All Criteria Pollutants.epa. I. Emissions by Category. 2003 op. op. South Coast Air Basin. Final Environmental Impact Statement Runway 8L-26R and Associated Near-Term Master Plan Projects. Section 101(d)(1). 7 GDP . S. 2001 Estimated Annual Average Emissions. private communication based on Boeing data. New York State Department of Conservation and Ms. and Alliance Airport.dot.gov/lng00/lng00. Environmental Protection Agency.U. Federal Highway Administration (cooperating agency). 1989-2001. November 2003.html] 11 Waitz. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Dallas Love Field.gov/ttnchie1/trends/index. George Bush Intercontinental Airport/Houston. Tonalee Key.gov/ohim/tvtw/02dectvt/tvtdec02.S.

nsf/UniqueKeyLookup/LHOD5MJQ6G/$File/2003- final-inventory. which are typical for an annual value. Inventory of U. Kwame. BOS. http://www-cta. value.S. 25 Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. U. Table 4-20: Energy Intensity of Passenger Modes (Btu per passenger-mile). Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. J. Circular 303 . 28 For NOx. DFW.S. April 15. Inc. which weight each gas (e. IAD. http://www. 2003. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990- 2001. area non- road and total emissions from 1999 Air Emission Inventory Summary spreadsheet. or GWP. PTI.). page 281. 2003. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. 30 U. 32 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. LAX.faa.bts.pdf.cit.ornl. Aircraft Contrails Factsheet. Estimates are presented in units of terragrams of carbon dioxide equivalents (Tg CO2 Eq. Environmental Protection Agency.S.. 27 Ibid. Dependable Power Reinvented. http://www. 2003. AIAA-ICAS International Air and Space Symposium and Exhibit: The Next 100 Years. Inventory of U. 40 The use of market-based options for limiting or reducing greenhouse gas emissions from aviation may also prove potentially useful applied to local air quality emissions. CO2 and NOx) by its Global Warming Potential. and Altman.gov/ttn/chief/trends/trends98/index. 42 International Civil Aviation Organization. for nonattainment area off-road emissions and total emissions. (1997) based on 2000 data provided by Tony Petruska.S. 37 Ibid. National Transportation Statistics 2002 (BTS 02-08). 2003. Department of Energy. 68 FR 25431. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990- 2001. Inventory of U. The forecast is deemed conservative since it does not account for improvements in aircraft energy efficiency over the next 20 years. 35 U. Aviation & Emissions – A Primer 23 Agyei. United says cutting APU runtime to save $12 million.).cit. Oak Ridge National Laboratory.gov/publications/national_transportation_statistics/2002/pdf/entire. Estimates are presented in units of terragrams of carbon dioxide equivalents (Tg CO2 Eq. 24 Nonattainment area non-road and total NOx emissions. April 2003. 36 US Department of Transportation.epa. February 11. 41 Air Transport World. EPA.S. 1990-1998. and STL). Airport emissions escalated from 1995 estimate by URS Greiner. National Air Pollutant Emission Trends. airport emissions calculated using EDMS 4.gov/data/tedb22/Full_Doc_TEDB22. http://www. value.epa.g. http://yosemite. June 2002 for Logan Airport emissions.html. September 2002. 2003. see U. Environmental Protection Agency. Final Environmental Impact Statement. Environmental Protection Agency. CO2 and NOx) by its Global Warming Potential. CLE. AIAA 2003-2882. which weight each gas (e.0. aircraft represent anywhere from 60 to 80 percent of total airport emissions with the balance coming from the other sources like ground support equipment and ground access vehicles. 23 . July 14-17. which are based on summer day emissions.g.S. 38 See FAR Part 33 – Airworthiness Standards: Aircraft Engines http://www. ORD. 26 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.pdf. Aviation and the Global Atmosphere. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2001. Federal Aviation Administration.S.S.Operational Opportunities to Minimize Fuel Use & Reduce Emissions. 2003 op. 2003 op. which are deemed likely. February 10.epa.. OH. Transportation Energy Data Book: Edition 22. Environmental Protection Agency.airweb. or GWP.nsf/CurrentFARPart?OpenView&St art=1&Count=200&Expand=10. Massachusetts Periodic Emissions Inventories 1999. Department of Transportation. May 12. September 2000.com.S. R. 29 For more information about the production of contrails by aircraft. 39 Colpin. IAH. ATW Online.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgFAR.pdf.S. 34 Forecast Emissions 2001-2025 calculated based on FAA long-range activity forecasts assuming a constant rate of emissions from aircraft. February 2004. Dayton. 1999. March 2000. Logan Airside Improvements Planning Projects: Boston Logan International Airport..pdf. SFO.gov/oar/globalwarming. 31 U.gov/otaq/regs/nonroad/aviation/contrails. This is based on a review of recent Environmental Impact Statements for eleven airports (ATL. 33 Actual Emissions 1990-2001 – U. U.

” 52 National Research Council. 2003 45 Drew. Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum Operations in United States Domestic Airspace.pdf..aerospace. A. estimates “22 to 37 years total time from basic technology (e. December 2002 44 U. Committee on Aeronautics Research and Technology for Environmental Compatibility. AIAA- ICAS International Air and Space Symposium and Exhibit: The Next 100 Years.gov/strat_plan2003_low. 51 Waitz.” AIAA 2003-2909. 1999 op. Technology Drivers for 21st Century Transportation Systems.S. http://www. Gas Turbine Engines and Emissions Primer. Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board. P. OH 46 Waitz. 2001 op. I.” 14-17 July 2003.. cit.cit. 50 More information on the FAA-NASA Center of Excellence for Aircraft Noise and Aviation Emissions Mitigation can be found at http://web. A.nap. Department of Transportation. Dayton. Federal Aviation Administration.Aviation & Emissions – A Primer 43 U. NASA Aerospace Technology Enterprise Strategy – 2003. March 10. The LTTG will evaluate the prospects for setting emissions goals as targets for future technology performance. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 48 ICAO has established a Long-Term Technology Goals (LTTG) task group within Working Group 3 to monitor and track future aircraft technologies that may demonstrate better environmental performance.S. available at http://bob. NASA research) to significant fleet impact.. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 24 . For Greener Skies: Reducing Environmental Impacts of Aviation.g.edu/aeroastro/www/partner/. Final Regulatory Impact Analysis.mit.. Unfunded Mandates and Trade Impact Assessment. 47 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 2002. 2001.html. Federal Aviation Administration. et al. I.nasa. Aircraft. National Airspace System Operational Evolution Plan. 49 National Aeronautics and Space Administration.edu/html/greener_skies/notice. Final Regulatory Flexibility Determination.. Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences. Department of Transportation. August 3.