The Single Sky and the environment
EUROCONTROL puts its environmental expertise at the service of its Member States, the European Commission (EC) and the aviation community to help measure, monitor and mitigate the impact aviation is having on the environment.
The aviation industry in Europe is increasingly affected by environmentally-driven legislation at the European level. Even the Single European Sky initiative, whose focus is air traffic management (ATM), includes a specific target for reducing aviation’s negative impact on the environment.
In addition, as of 2012, the aviation sector is incorporated in the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), a legislative instrument designed to encourage market-based allocation of resources to reduce emissions within an overall cap. This also requires means to measure emissions.
Although reducing emissions has been the policy focus with the highest profile in recent years, neither aircraft noise nor air pollution affecting communities around airports have disappeared as major challenges to the sustainable development of the aviation industry. EUROCONTROL is also actively involved in finding solutions to them.
Modelling activities to measure the environmental impact of European aviation
Working through the ICAO and ECAC environmental groups has led us to develop three key applications to model the environmental impact of air traffic movements, covering fuel burn/greenhouse gas emissions, local air quality and noise.
Each of these successfully passed ICAO’s stress tests during 2008-2009 and have thus become part of the standard suite of assessment models used by ICAO's Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) to assess future regulatory policy options – such as:
- introducing tighter aircraft noise and emissions standards, and
- estimating what impact such measures would have both on the citizen – through reduced environmental impact, and the industry.
These models are:
Advanced Emissions Model (AEM)
Estimates aviation emissions (CO2, H2O, SOx, NOx, HC, CO, Benzene, VOC, TOG) and fuel burn. It analyses flight profile data, on a flight-by-flight basis, for air traffic scenarios of almost any scope - from local studies around airports to global aircraft emissions.
STAPES (System for Airport Noise Exposure Studies) regional noise calculator
Performs multi-airport noise studies. The system supports all types of noise impact assessments in relation to the EC’s and ICAO’s future policy options, as well as any new operational concept designed under the SESAR programme.
Airport Local Air Quality Studies (ALAQS) model
Calculates airport emissions from all sources. It helps to define and measure emissions from various airport sources - runways, taxiways and buildings as well as those from non airport infrastructure such as roads.
Environmental activities within the SESAR work programme
EUROCONTROL is responsible within the SESAR work programme for managing five of the six environmental projects within the Transversal Areas work package - WP16.
Our key focus is on WP16.6.3, which is the SESAR environmental support and co-ordination function, and WP16.3.1, which looks at environmental validation framework within SESAR, and supports WP16.6.3.
Through these work packages, EUROCONTROL will lead work with its SESAR partners to roll out an environmental assessment methodology and toolset within SESAR, so that the programme can track its performance towards meeting its goal of reducing fuel burn (and hence emissions) by 10% per flight by 2020 in comparison with 2005.
Work will start in 2011 on three other environmental work packages covering indicators, external and legislative risks, and the findings of these will also inform WP16.6.3.
Environmental Training for the ATM community
We provide and maintain online and classroom-based training courses on environment issues for ATM professionals, covering aviation in an environmental context, regulatory requirements and operational mitigation measures in particular.
The courses are delivered by our environment and training experts through our Institute of Air Navigation Services in Luxembourg.
Links to ATM and Environment information
- European Commission - Directorate-General for Environment
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
- UK Sustainable Aviation Strategy
- European Federation for Transport & Environment
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
- France Directorate General of Civil Aviation
- German Air Navigation Services (DFS)
- Switzerland Air Traffic Control (skyguide)
- UK Department for Transport
- UK CAA Environmental Research and Consultancy Department
Other useful links
- Reducing the Climate Change Impact of Aviation - A communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions (2005).
- Establishment of rules and procedures with regard to the introduction of noise-related operating restrictions at Community airports - Directive 2002/30/EC OF the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 March 2002
- Organisation and use of the airspace in the Single European Sky (the Airspace Regulation) - Regulation (EC) No 551/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2004.
- Ambient air quality assessment and management - Council Directive 96/62/EC of 27 September 1996.