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Aviation Sustainability and the Environment, CAPA 25-Jun-2020

Analysis

ERA: Climate change 'one of the biggest threats to the existence of the air transport industry'

European aviation stakeholders urge EU to prioritise decarbonisation in COVID-19 financing

Lagos Airport receives Level 1 Mapping certification under ACA programme

Finavia financing the development of a new generation electric aircraft

Denmark looks to develop alternative aviation fuels through hydrogen production

This CAPA report features a summary of recent aviation sustainability and environment news, selected from the 300+ news alerts published daily by CAPA. For more information, please contact us.

ERA: Climate change 'one of the biggest threats to the existence of the air transport industry'

European Regions Airline Association (ERA) stated (18-Jun-2020) climate change represents "one of the biggest threats to the existence of the air transport industry", with environmental awareness movements growing exponentially in 2019. The ERA added that despite the challenges facing the industry today as a result of COVID-19, environmental issues remain at the top of the agenda for the organisation's members.

The ERA's Green and Sustainable Connectivity report recently released provides an outline of the work undertaken by regional aviation stakeholders, particularly airlines, in order to tackle environmental concerns. It also shares members' emissions data and provides a technology review exploring the different decarbonisation technologies available for aviation, including benefits and barriers for implementation.

ERA Director General Montserrat Barriga stated: "The industry takes its responsibility towards sustainable aviation seriously and is working to minimise its impact on the environment as much as possible whilst, under normal circumstances, continuing to deliver essential connectivity and travel opportunities to millions of people across Europe". [more - original PR]

Original report: ERA Sustainability Report Confirms Need For Governments To Invest In Regional Aviation

ERA (European Regions Airline Association) has conducted its first sustainability report, outlining its sector’s efforts and members’ initiatives in the fight against climate change.

  • Climate change represents one of the biggest threats to the existence of the air transport industry, with movements such as ‘flygskam’ (flight shame) having grown exponentially in 2019.

Despite the challenges facing the industry today as a result of COVID-19, green issues remain at the top of the agenda for ERA’s members. ERA is therefore pleased to launch its first Green and Sustainable Connectivity report, providing an outline of the work undertaken by regional aviation stakeholders, particularly its airlines, in order to tackle environmental concerns.

This report highlights how the aviation sector is approaching the challenge of reducing its environmental footprint through a multi-pillar strategy: developing new technology, transitioning to sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs), moving to more efficient operations and better use of infrastructure, including defragmentation. 

ERA’s Green and Sustainable Connectivity report – which was conducted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic – equally shares the association airline members’ emissions data and a technology review exploring the different decarbonisation technologies available for aviation, including benefits and barriers for implementation.

Montserrat Barriga, ERA Director General, says: “The industry takes its responsibility towards sustainable aviation seriously and is working to minimise its impact on the environment as much as possible whilst, under normal circumstances, continuing to deliver essential connectivity and travel opportunities to millions of people across Europe. Given the nature of regional aviation, characterised by short-haul flights, the regional sector lends itself to new, clean technologies and should, therefore, be the forerunner for testing and selecting the right technology needed to decarbonise the industry. This further strengthens ERA’s position in challenging governments on their intentions to impose further taxes on aviation – that are in turn not reinvested in the sector – and encouraging them to invest in innovation and research.”

European aviation stakeholders urge EU to prioritise decarbonisation in COVID-19 financing

Europe's aviation stakeholders, including ACI Europe, European Business Aviation Association, European Travel Commission and IATA, issued (24-Jun-2020) a call for EU leaders to prioritise specific decarbonisation initiatives in their allocation of future COVID-19 recovery financing. Specific proposals include:

  • Boosting the production and uptake of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) in Europe through a dedicated set of policy measures and public investment plans. Measures include:
    • Direct capital investment or ownership in SAF production facilities, enabling the necessary derisking required to debt finance projects as well as the execution of off-take contracts with aircraft operators; 
    • Making Europe a 'centre of excellence' for the development and production of SAFs through the construction and funding of commercial-scale SAF projects from globally approved technology pathways;
  • Implementation of a green incentive scheme for airlines and aircraft operators to replace older aircraft with more modern and environmentally friendly aircraft, using public funds dedicated to the recovery to provide such incentives;
  • Increasing public funding and public co-funding rates for civil aviation research and innovation: Using resources from the recovery funds to inject additional capital beyond the amount that will be provided through the EU's Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) and Horizon Europe into innovative fuels research, including hydrogen;
  • Continued investment in the European ATM system: Enhance the benefits of Single European Sky and temporarily provide 100% public funding for the deployment of SESAR technologies. Such funds should benefit all stakeholders that will need to contribute to the deployment of new technologies, including airports, airspace users and ANSPs. 
  • Investment in sustainable airport and heliport infrastructure: Ensure funding eligibility of projects related to energy efficiency, renewable energy and electrification, such as energy-efficient terminals, renewable onsite energy, supply of eGPUs and electrification of ground vehicle fleets. [more - original PR]

Original report: European aviation unites in call for support for green recovery from COVID-19

With the gradual restarting of passenger air transport in the coming weeks, leaders from over a dozen air transport associations1 representing Europe’s aviation sector today issued an urgent call for EU leaders to prioritise specific decarbonisation initiatives in their allocation of future COVID-19 recovery funding.

European aviation continues to reel from the sudden collapse of the air transport system over the last months and is amongst the sectors most heavily impacted. But these challenges are compounded by the need to meet ambitious climate change goals going forward. Ensuring an accelerated deployment of existing decarbonisation solutions and adequate investments to bring new technologies forward will be key – investments which should be at the heart of the EU’s COVID-19 recovery strategy. In the meantime, existing financial instruments, such as loans, could also be made available to provide urgent relief. 

Europe’s aviation sector is committed to contributing to the recovery of European economies in line with the Green Deal objectives, and to the benefit of all. The sector therefore calls on policymakers to include smart measures to support Europe’s civil aviation sector during its recovery. This requires ensuring that aviation climate action is eligible for funding under the mechanisms foreseen by Next Generation EU and the new Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF).  

A combination of public and private investment is necessary to allow air transport leaders to speed up work to decarbonise the sector - in line with the EU goal of climate neutrality by 2050.  

Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI EUROPE, said: “Benefitting from these support measures will help our sector regain its economic viability – a prerequisite for safeguarding both air connectivity and our ability to keep investing in decarbonisation. Airports – along with our partners in the aviation eco-system – have been brought to their knees by this crisis. Our determination to pursue climate action, in line with ACI EUROPE’s commitment to Net Zero carbon emissions under airports’ control at the latest by 2050, remains as robust as ever – but our ability to invest has been hit hard. Aviation is one of the sectors where decarbonisation is particularly challenging, so including it in a joined up green recovery makes sense for all”. 

Specific proposals include: 
  
1.    Boosting the production and uptake of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs) in Europe through a dedicated and stable set of policy measures and public investment plans. Such measures would notably be welcomed within the “ReFuel EU Aviation-Sustainable Aviation Fuels” initiative and include:

  • Direct capital investment (or ownership) in SAF production facilities, enabling the necessary de-risking required to debt finance projects as well as the execution of off-take contracts with aircraft operators; 
  • Making Europe the centre of excellence for the development and production of SAFs through the construction and funding of commercial scale SAF projects from globally approved technology pathways.

2.    Implement a green incentive scheme for airlines and aircraft operators to replace older aircraft (fixed wing and helicopters) with more modern and environmentally friendly aircraft. Use public funds dedicated to the recovery to provide such incentives to aircraft operators. On average, new aircraft models are 20% - 25% more fuel-efficient and produce less noise compared to previous generations. Such an incentive scheme would speed up the green transition towards the EU’s shorter term ambition of 2030.  

3.    Increase public funding and public co-funding rates for Civil Aviation Research & Innovation (Clean Aviation and SESAR): Use resources from the recovery funds to inject additional capital beyond the amount that will be provided through the MFF and Horizon Europe, in particular. European disruptive technologies and innovative fuels, including hydrogen, can generate deep and long-term emissions reductions towards the EU’s Climate Neutrality in 2050.  

4.    Continued investment in the European Air Traffic Management system (ATM): Enhance the benefits of the Single European Sky and temporarily provide 100% public funding for the deployment of SESAR technologies with proven sustainable and environmental benefits. Such funds should benefit all stakeholders that will need to contribute to the deployment of new technologies, including airports, airspace users and air navigation services providers.  

5.    Investment in sustainable airport and heliport infrastructure: Ensure funding eligibility of projects related to energy efficiency, renewable energy and electrification (e.g. improving the energy efficiency of terminal buildings, renewable energy generation on-site, supply of electrical ground power to aircraft on stand, electrification of ground vehicle fleets, etc.).

Lagos Airport receives Level 1 Mapping certification under ACA programme

Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA), via its official Twitter account, announced (19-Jun-2020) it awarded Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport Level 1 'Mapping' certification under the ACI's ACA programme. Lagos is the first airport in Nigeria to achieve the certification.

Finavia financing the development of a new generation electric aircraft

Finavia signed (23-Jun-2020) a new cooperation agreement with the Helsinki Electric Airplane Association to finance the development of a new generation electric aircraft in Finland and "accelerate the electrification of domestic travel". [more - original PR - Finnish]

Original report: Finavia vauhdittaa sähkölentokoneiden käyttöönottoa Suomessa

Lentoasemayhtiö Finavia ja Helsingin Sähkölentokoneyhdistys ovat allekirjoittaneet yhteistyösopimuksen, jonka tavoitteena on saada Suomeen uuden sukupolven sähkölentokone.

− Finavian tavoitteena on jatkaa lentoasematoiminnasta syntyvien päästöjen vähentämistä, ja siihen on käytettävä kaikki mahdolliset keinot. Sähkölentäminen on yksi ratkaisuista. Haluamme investoida uuden lentokoneteknologian käyttöönottoon ja vauhdittaa kotimaanlentojen sähköistämistä, sanoo Finavian tekniikasta ja vastuullisuudesta vastaava johtaja Henri Hansson.

Ensimmäiset sähköiset matkustajakoneet soveltuvat parhaiten lyhyille matkoille, mutta erityisesti kaupallisen reittiliikenteen näkökulmasta on tärkeää kehittää myös sähkölentokoneiden toimintasädettä. Jyväskylän yliopiston ja Australian Brisbanessa sijaitsevan Griffith Universityn yhteistyössä tekemän tutkimuksen mukaan sähkölentokone olisi Suomessa nopeutensa ansiosta suositeltavin matkustustapa yli neljän sadan kilometrin matkoilla.

Kun sähkö tuotetaan puhtaasti esimerkiksi tuuli- tai aurinkovoimalla, sähköllä kulkeva lentokone kulkisi päästöttömästi.

− Sähköisen ilmailun myötä lentäminen muuttuu entistä ekologisemmaksi ja sähkölentokoneista tulee ympäristöystävällinen liikkumismuoto. Sähköinen ilmailu on hiljaista, joten myös meluhaitat vähenevät, sanoo Helsingin Sähkölentokoneyhdistyksen puheenjohtaja Janne Vasama.

Vasama kertoo, että Sähkölentokoneyhdistys on alan pioneeri paitsi Suomessa, myös Euroopan mittakaavassa. Suomen ensimmäinen sähkölentokone, kaksipaikkainen Pipistrel Alpha Electro (OH-U682) nousi ilmaan kaksi vuotta sitten Malmilla 31.7.2018.

Finavia on alusta asti tehnyt yhteistyötä pari vuotta sitten perustetun Helsingin Sähkölentokoneyhdistyksen kanssa ja ollut mukana tukemassa Suomen ensimmäisen sähkölentokoneen testausta ja sähkölentämisen kehittämistä. Nyt solmitun sopimuksen myötä Finaviasta tulee uuden konehankinnan päärahoittaja.

Finavia ja Helsingin Sähkölentokoneyhdistys tekevät tiivistä yhteistyötä myös sähkölentämistä edistävän yhteispohjoismaisen Network for Electric Aviation (NEA) -verkoston sekä Merenkurkun neuvoston sähkölentokonehankkeen kanssa. Kaikilla on tavoitteena vähentää lentämisen ympäristövaikutuksia ja edistää alueiden lentoyhteyksiä.

Denmark looks to develop alternative aviation fuels through hydrogen production

Denmark's government plans to partner with Danish energy company Ørsted to construct artificial islands in the North and Baltic Seas equipped with wind turbines (Sveriges Radio, 23-Jun-2020). The energy generated on the islands aims to be used to produce hydrogen, which will then be converted into methanol-based aviation biofuel through the process of carbon dioxide hydrogenation. Ørsted head of energy and economics Ulrik Stridbeck said commercial biofuel production via this process could commence as early as 2028.

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