The objectives of this Opinion are:
- to improve efficiency in the field of fuel/energy planning and management for commercial air transport (CAT) aeroplanes, while maintaining a high level of safety in air operations;
- to incorporate into EU rules the latest International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Annex 6, Parts I, II, and III amendments on fuel planning and management ; and
- to clarify and simplify the rules for helicopter fuel energy planning and management, including helicopter refuelling with rotors turning, taking into account current industry best practice.
The new rules on fuel planning, selection of aerodromes, and in-flight fuel management introduce the concept of ‘fuel schemes’ for CAT operations with aeroplanes in the European Union. They provide a comprehensive and updated set of safety requirements for developing and overseeing the operators’ fuel schemes, and address the gaps identified in the in-flight fuel management policy to enable operators to benefit from the latest technologies. The new fuel schemes that are structured on three levels of performance take into account the robustness of the operators’ management system, allowing them to increase operational efficiency, with cost and environmental benefits.
The rules on other types of operations are also amended for consistency. The requirements of Annexes VI (Part-NCC) and VIII (Part-SPO) to Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 (the ‘Air OPS Regulation’) are better harmonised with those of Annex IV (Part-CAT) for CAT operations that are based on the new fuel schemes. In Annex VII (Part-NCO), the amendments to fuel planning rules follow a performance-based approach. The in-flight fuel management requirements of Part-NCC and Part-NCO are now harmonised with ICAO Annex 6, Part II. In Part-SPO, the prescriptive rule for the final reserve fuel (FRF) is amended following the performance-based approach taken for Part-NCO.
This Opinion replaces the term ‘fuel’ with ‘fuel/energy’ to accommodate operations with aircraft that use energy sources for propulsion other than conventional, hydrocarbon-based fuel.