Sustainability crucial for long-term viability of the sector — European Environment Agency

The European Aviation Environmental Report 2022 (published on the EASA website) looks at historical and future scenarios of aviation and associated noise and emissions. It also summarizes the latest scientific evidence on these impacts before focusing on five main areas to mitigate impacts (technology and design; sustainable aviation fuels; air traffic management – ​​operations; airports and market-based measures) with recommendations on how to further improve levels can be environmental protection.

Welcoming the report as a key tool to support evidence-based policy making, European Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean commented: “Significant actions have already been taken since the last edition of this report in 2019. This is reflected, for example, in ever lower CO2 emissions2 -Emissions per passenger-km and improved noise emissions from aircraft. But the report shows scope to go further – with sustainable aviation fuels showing particular potential, in line with our EU policy approach.”

EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky stated: “Safety is a core element of the culture in the aviation sector and this commitment is reflected at all levels to ensure successful and effective business operations. The European Green Deal means that the same principles must now be applied to the strategic issue of environmental protection to ensure the long-term viability of the industry. EASA stands ready to play its part in achieving this goal.”

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EEA Executive Director Hans Bruyninckx added: “As an essential part of our mobility system, the aviation sector must fully contribute to the achievement of the Union’s climate and environmental goals. Fully accounting for the costs of aviation’s environmental and climate impacts in market prices and improving cross-sectoral taxation would provide meaningful incentives to accelerate the EU transport sector’s transition towards sustainability.”

EUROCONTROL Director General Eamonn Brennan stressed: “This important report demonstrates that we as an industry have already taken significant steps to meet our sustainability goals. On the operational side, we have made great progress. However, we now urgently need to address the question of how to power our aircraft in the most sustainable way and how to move towards zero-emission aircraft in the medium to long term. All of this comes at a cost, and that needs to be addressed at a systemic level.”

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While the number of flights at EU27+EFTA airports has fallen dramatically due to the pandemic, from 9.3 million in 2019 to 4.12 million and 5.07 million in 2020 and 2021 respectively, longer-term trends show that the region will accommodate approximately 12.2 million flights annually by 2050, with aircraft co2 Emissions could rise to 188 million tons if environmental protection is not further mainstreamed across the sector.

Acknowledging the numerous European and sectoral targets set over the last three years, the report underscores the need to independently monitor progress to ensure transparency, accountability and credibility, and ultimately to provide confidence that the actions in place are those that have been agreed goals will be achieved.

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About the report

Prepared by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) under Article 87 of its Basic Regulation 2018/1139 with the support of the European Environment Agency and EUROCONTROL, the report puts aviation in the context of what is new European Green Deal and European industry Goal 2050 initiative and the Toulouse Declaration to be carbon neutral by 2050, in line with the EU economy-wide target. This joint collaboration with input from stakeholders ensures that the report presents a balanced and comprehensive summary of the aviation environmental protection issue in Europe.

A complete overview of important facts see the summary of the report, next to it recommendations how the level of environmental protection can be further improved.

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