The report shows that the environmental impact of European Aviation has increased over the last 25 years; the number of flights increased by 80% in the EU between 1990 and 2015, while CO2 emissions and fuel burn grew by the same amount. Looking more closely at the 2005-2014 period, however, the Report shows that the decoupling of impact from growth is beginning to happen.
While EU air traffic stayed almost constant (-0.5% to 8.85 million flights), average distances flown, load factor and passenger numbers all grew (by 12%, 25% and 9.3% respectively). Compared to 2004, although fuel burn and CO2 emissions did increase by approximately 5%, the average fuel burn per passenger flown went down by 15%. Encouragingly, the number of people exposed to noise at 45 major European airports decreased very slightly by 2% to 2.52 million.
The report also shows that traffic, fuel burn and greenhouse gas emissions are all expected to grow out to 2035. There are the first indications however, that the number of people impacted by aircraft noise will not necessarily grow with traffic. Indeed, if the reasonable assumptions in the forecast on technological improvements are realised, the report predicts a gradual decoupling of environmental impact from traffic and passenger growth. This is key to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the aviation sector, one of the goals of the Aviation Strategy for Europe presented in December 2015.
“One of the key aspects of this report is that all the different actions that are being taken in aviation are viewed from the environmental perspective so that awareness of aviation actions in environmental matters increases. As a result, citizens, politicians, policy makers, regulators and the industry now have a first overall picture of how European aviation is performing environmentally,” said Frank Brenner, Director General of EUROCONTROL.
——News linking from airportfocusinternational.com