EUROCONTROL launches ContrailNet - the new network to create a common repository of contrail observation data


EUROCONTROL, in collaboration with Airbus and Thales, seeks to set up ContrailNet - a new network of European research experts to create a common repository of contrail observation data to advance the aviation sector’s efforts to reduce the climate impact of non-CO2 aviation emissions, in particular contrails and nitrogen oxides (NOx).

The aim is to make available the common repository of annotated observation data to existing and future research initiatives for them to develop their own contrail identification and evaluation algorithms. Besides EUROCONTROL's contrail prevention trials and our contrail observatory, this technical project is another component in EUROCONTROL's strategic work on non-CO2 climate impacts. The new initiative was announced during the EUROCONTROL-CANSO Sustainable Skies Conference in Brussels.

“In order to make progress on contrail avoidance and propose meaningful minimisation strategies, we need to have more and clearer data as soon as possible. With the network ContrailNet we seek to bring together experts dedicated to minimising the non-CO2 impact of aviation, share results, and create a common repository of contrail observation data to foster scientific consensus.”

Marylin Bastin Head of Aviation Sustainability EUROCONTROL

“Reducing climate impact requires collaboration between aviation stakeholders. Combining efforts on CO2 and non-CO2 mitigation will be the only way to reduce the total impact on the climate. In this context, Thales is fully committed to actively contributing to the ContrailNet community by disseminating the results of the EU-funded SESAR 3 JU CONCERTO project with the aim of optimizing traffic flows based on CO2 and non-CO2 trade-offs, which is one of the main drivers of our initiatives within Thales.”

Benjamin Binet VP Strategy & Public Affairs for Airspace Mobility Solutions Thales

“Understanding aviation’s non-CO2 emissions impact on climate has continuously improved over the past decade. Nonetheless, further research is needed both on climate science, weather forecasting and Air Traffic Management technologies, to ensure future non-CO2 mitigation is truly effective. Airbus is leading CICONIA, a cross-industry project supported by SESAR JU and the European Commission, in pursuit of this objective. Further sharing and collaborating with industry partners by contributing CICONIA results to ContrailNET creates a common scientific understanding to achieve those goals.”

Alain de Zotti Head of Aircraft Architecture and Integration Airbus

Data sources will include on-board cameras, satellite and lidar data, meteorological observations, and related traffic data. In addition, a standard methodology for contrail annotation will be established. ContrailNet is committed to supporting all current and future contrail mitigation efforts.

ContrailNet is open to industry professionals, aircraft manufacturers, airlines and ANSPs, alongside researchers and students working on the non-CO2 impact of aviation


Condensation trails – so-called contrails – are formed by water, soot and cool air. When water vapour is ejected from the exhaust nozzle of an aircraft engine into sufficiently cold air, it condenses and freezes around soot and other particles in the air, creating tiny ice crystals. In certain atmospheric conditions, these ice crystals create layers of cirrus clouds, causing a 'blanket' effect which keeps warmer air trapped in the lower atmosphere. At night, this has a warming effect on the atmosphere. By avoiding ice-supersaturated regions (ISSRs) in the atmosphere, aircraft can reduce the likelihood of forming these persistent contrails.


For more information or to register your interest in joining ContrailNet, please contact us.

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