The journey towards zero emission aviation
Technological improvements, fleet renewal and increased operational efficiency have made flying a lot cleaner over the past 15 years. Even though technological progress has been made, there is still a lot of effort and commitment needed across the aviation industry to reach the goal of zero emissions.
Europe's plan for the coming years
On 19th November 2019, the European Parliament declared an environmental emergency which among other measures calls for a global reduction of aviation CO2 emissions. A few weeks later the president of the European Commission, Ursula van der Leyen, presented the European Green Deal – an ambitious plan aiming to make Europe carbon emission free by 2050.
EASA's role in the European Green Deal
Already today no aircraft can fly without environmental approval from EASA. In December 2019, EASA agreed with industry to advance CO2 certification far ahead of the 2028 legal requirement – recognising the need to take measures as soon as possible. EASA plays a leading role in actively developing and implementing measures to address environmental challenges. Acknowledging and assessing the current situation provides a strong basis to accompany and incentivise technological developments, so as to reach full decarbonisation by 2050.
EASA is working with industry to help develop electric aircraft concepts and will ensure that they meet both safety and environmental standards. EASA has recently launched a collaboration with Norway with concrete and effective actions enabling innovation in reducing aviation emissions.
Sustainable aviation fuels
Sustainable aviation fuels can offer an environmental benefit compared to normal jet fuel, because of the way they are produced and by using non-fossil resources. However, in order to make a real impact, significantly more quantities are needed. The EU and EASA are working with industry to increase the production and use of these alternative fuels.
Environmental research activities at EASA
The European Commission and EASA have signed a contribution agreement on aviation safety research activities, and entrusted EASA with the management of urgent research actions in the area of environmental protection and aviation safety - smart, green and integrated transport.
With this agreement, the European Commission and EASA demonstrate their commitment to support the sustainability of the aviation industry and to further improve aviation safety.
For a full list of EASA's research activities, please consult EASA Pro, Research & Innovation.
EASA, the European Environment Agency and EUROCONTROL jointly assessed the environmental performance of an ever growing aviation sector. The resulting report looks at economic benefits as well as the environmental impact on climate change.
Have a look at the EAER 2019 for more information.