easyJet, the UK’s largest airline, today became the first airline to call for tough, mandatory emission standards for aircraft that would lead to a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions from the next generation of aircraft.
Speaking at a press conference in London today, Andy Harrison, easyJet’s Chief Executive said:
“Aviation needs a global solution. Government’s first instinct is to tax, but this won’t deliver sustainable aviation as the industry’s growth is concentrated in China and India. Step change technology is in the pipeline, and we need tough legislation on emission standards for it to be delivered sooner.
Wartime has led to the biggest leaps in aviation technology. Governments must ensure that the war on climate change delivers the next big leap in technology.
We demand legislation for cleaner aircraft to stop the industry flying old, inefficient aircraft. If we get cleaner aircraft and ground the old smokers we can reduce the industry’s overall emissions and tackle climate change head on.
Since most aircraft are manufactured in Europe and America, tough emissions standards at the manufacturing source will deliver the global environmental benefits as these aircraft are exported to the fast growing markets of China and India.
Minimum standards of efficiency are already legislated for aircraft noise, diesel engines, refrigerators and many other products. ICAO and European leaders must extend these minimum standards to aircraft emissions.”
The standards would be introduced in three steps, starting with short-haul aircraft where the current aircraft families, the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 families are already over 20 years old. easyJet proposes that:
Q By 2015 every new aircraft type would have to meet the standard
Q By 2024 airlines could not add to its fleet any new aircraft that did not meet the standard
Q By 2030 airlines could not operate aircraft that did not meet the standard
Under easyJet’s proposal, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) should lead the process to ensure global reach and consensus and to establish standards and timescales for other aircraft types. The standards would apply to all developed countries. Governments would have to play an active role in funding research and development.
easyJet has been a leader in the field of environmental policy and the call for action comes on the eve of the UK Climate change Commission’s report on aviation and the environment and the Copenhagen Climate summit where the inclusion of aviation in a global post-Kyoto agreement is on the agenda.