Aeroplane CO2 emissions

The new aeroplane CO2 standard increases the priority of fuel efficiency in the overall aeroplane design process. It became applicable to new aeroplane types as of 1 January 2020. In comparison to nvPM where engine types were given four years to comply with the in-production standard, aeroplane types were given twelve years to comply with the in-production CO2 standard, which becomes applicable from 1 January 2028. Consequently, the availability of certified CO2 data is limited at the moment.

Airbus have voluntarily engaged early in the process and were the first ever manufacturer to apply to EASA to certify a product against the CO2 standard in 2021. This data on the A330-900neo variants is provided in Figure 3.8. and, as per noise and NOX, the 2019 ICAO Independent Experts Panel goals for leading edge CO2 emissions performance in 2027 and 2037 are also shown.

Figure 3.9. presents the estimated average fuel burn performance of newly delivered commercial aircraft from 1960 to 2019 with 1970 as the baseline (1970 = 100) in two metrics – the metric used in the ICAO CO2 standard and kilograms of fuel burn per tonne-kilometre.

While the annual rate of improvement has varied over time, the figure indicates that the two metrics are well correlated and that a reduction in the ICAO CO2 standard metric should see an improvement in fuel efficiency in terms of day-to-day aircraft operations (e.g. reduction in fuel burn/tonne-kilometre).

The 2022-2025 work programme in the ICAO environmental committee (CAEP) is reviewing both the aircraft noise and CO2 emissions standards.