New study by ICCT show new plane fuel efficiency gains are more than a decade late for UN ICAO goal
The European group, T&E, say that since 2010, the average fuel burn of new aircraft has improved by 1.1% per year, which suggests that aircraft manufacturers may miss UN aviation body ICAO’s 2020 fuel efficiency goals by 12 years. This has been show by a new study by the ICCT. IATA forecasts 4.1% annual growth of global aviation for the next 20 years. By contrast, the 1.1% progress in fuel efficiency of new commercial jets falls way behind the progress needed to meet ICAO’s targets. The gap between 4.1% growth and 1.1% improvement is massive. Since 2009 ICAO has been working on a CO2 standard for new aircraft to boost fuel efficiency technology in the fleet. Work should be completed in 2016, with the standard for new commercial jets taking effect in 2020. Decisions on the actual stringency of the standard are due over the next months. T&E said: “ICAO must help airlines meet their own climate goals and agree a CO2 standard that actually forces new technology in the fleet, rather than doing business as usual….. It’s a no brainer for ICAO to agree a global market-based measure that drives fuel prices up steadily over time.” More progress in fuel efficiency strongly correlates with higher fuel prices. Aviation’s massive CO2 emissions are projected to triple by 2050.
New plane fuel efficiency gains are more than a decade late for UN goal – study
Since 2010, the average fuel burn of new aircraft has improved by 1.1% per year, which suggests that aircraft manufacturers may miss UN aviation body ICAO’s 2020 fuel efficiency goals by 12 years, a new study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) reveals.
A new paper for the ICCT analyzes the fuel efficiency/carbon intensity of new commercial aircraft, and indicates the substantial gap existing between what is technological feasible and new aircraft currently on the market.
3.9.2015 (ICCT – International Council on Clean Transportation)
This report updates a 2009 study that analyzed the sales- and activity-weighted fuel efficiency improvement of commercial jet aircraft from 1960 to 2008. It improves on that work in several significant ways, updating with new aircraft types and data for 2009 to 2014 deliveries and using refined metrics for measurement, including the efficiency metric value that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has developed for its international CO2 standard.
- Between 1968 and 2014 the average fuel burn of new aircraft fell approximately 45%, or a compound annual reduction rate of 1.3%.
- The rate of efficiency improvement varied significantly over time: average fuel efficiency improved by 2.6% per year during 1980s, while little or no improvement was seen during the 1970s and in the period from 1995 to 2005.
- Today, the rate of efficiency improvement for new aircraft has returned back to the historical average. This trend, probably attributable to the spike in fuel prices after 2004, is likely to continue for the near term as more new aircraft types are brought to market.
- Despite this progress, manufacturers continue to lag United Nations’ fuel efficiency goals for new aircraft. On average, industry is about 12 years behind the 2020 and 2030 fuel efficiency goals established by ICAO, the UN agency that overseas international aviation.
- Continued oil market volatility, combined with evidence that the industry is lagging its technological potential, highlights the need for a meaningful CO2 standard to help industry meet its environmental goals.
STA means “small twin aisle” (ie. wide-bodied aircraft with more than 7 seats abreast, like ? Boeing 787 and Airbus A350,) and SA means “single aisle” (ie. seating 6 abreast, smaller planes referred to as regional jets, not making long inter-continental trips).
The paper says (Page iv):
“Reductions in average aircraft fuel burn slowed noticeably after 1990 and largely halted around 2000. After 2010, average fuel efficiency began to accelerate on both metrics and has now returned to the long-term average improvement of 1.1% per annum on a fuel/ passenger-km basis. Acceleration in improvement rate is expected in the foreseeable future due to the introduction of new, more efficient aircraft designs such as the A320neo, 737 MAX, and 777X. Over the long term, fuel efficiency improvements on the fuel/passenger-km and ICAO’s cruise fuel metric were found to be comparable.”
The paper’s conclusion:
“4. Conclusions and Next Steps
This work reconfirms the 2009 study’s conclusion that a meaningful CO2 standard is needed to provide an extra incentive for new technology development and deployment. Despite faster fuel efficiency improvements linked to new aircraft types and higher fuel prices, manufacturers remain 12 years behind ICAO’s technology goals. It is also worth noting that, albeit at a slow pace, new aircraft fuel efficiency keeps improving by the year. Any CO2 emission standard should, therefore, ensure additional emission reductions by taking into account the baseline level of industry improvement in order to avoid setting a standard that would be overtaken by “natural” improvement.
“As discussed in the previous section, ICAO’s CO2 emission standard, while rewarding technologies that reduce fuel burn, does not reward structural efficiency as evident from a comparison of ICAO’s cruise metric value and the fuel/passenger-km metrics used to measure CO2 reduction. Even if the adopted standard is stringent enough to incrementally improve fuel efficiency beyond business-as-usual, a supporting measure may be needed to promote structural efficiency, including the use of lightweight materials and efficient aircraft design. Differentiated landing fees based on the fuel efficiency of in-service aircraft is one potential incentive.
“Looking forward, further work is needed to comprehensively investigate the degree of correlation between the modeled average fuel burn on the block fuel per passenger-km and ICAO cruise metrics. An expansion of the study to include general aviation aircraft, notably turboprops and business jets, could broaden our understanding of overall industry fuel efficiency trends. A future update will also be necessary to reflect changes linked to project aircraft due to enter into service between 2016 and 2020 — before the earliest application date of ICAO’s CO2 standard. The update will also be useful in reassessing industry’s progress toward ICAO’s fuel burn technology goals.”
The ICCT (International Council on Clean Transportation) says it is:
“.. an independent non-profit organization founded to provide first-rate, unbiased research and technical and scientific analysis to environmental regulators. Our mission is to improve the environmental performance and energy efficiency of road, marine, and air transportation, in order to benefit public health and mitigate climate change.”
Overall fuel efficiency of US airlines fails to improve on domestic routes during 2013, finds ICCT study
An annual performance study by the ICCT shows the fuel efficiency of US carriers on domestic routes failed to improve in 2013. ICCT found little correlation between airline efficiency and profitability, and is concerned that as fuel prices steady or even fall there will even less incentive to make fuel efficiency gains. Even less efficient carriers were also able to make high profits through using older, less fuel efficient aircraft. ICCT’s analysis shows the average annual fuel efficiency between 1990 and 2000 improved by 2.1%, improving to 2.8% between 2000 and 2010 and then fell back to 1.3% between 2010 and 2012. Load factors rose from 60% in 1990 to 82% in 2010, but have flattened out in recent years. The US aircraft fleet is ageing, with fewer new planes. The price of oil has fallen markedly in the past year, and may remain low for some time, due to US oil production. There is concern there will be less incentive, with cheaper fuel, to make energy savings. Or meet the IATA goal of 1.5% energy improvements annually to 2020.
Southampton University study shows air traffic growth would outpace CO2 reduction efforts unless demand is cut by higher air fares
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UK aviation industry presents its (unrealistic) Road-Map for growing while cutting carbon by 2050
An aviation industry body calling itself The Sustainable Aviation Group has updated its 2008 Road-Map on how it hopes to continue growing as much as possible, and yet also magically keep its carbon emissions down. There are many assumptions about the extent of fuel efficiency from new planes and new engines; from better operational practices such as better air traffic control. And a huge hope that biofuels will be the salvation and provide immense carbon savings. In addition, they will depend to a huge extent on carbon trading with other sectors, so at least a quarter of their emissions will have to be compensated for by other sectors. And for all this they want a lot of government subsidy and assistance – which means money from the tax payer.
The 2012 Road-Map is at http://www.sustainableaviation.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/SA-CO2-Road-Map-full-report-280212.pdf
The 2008 Road-Map is at http://www.nats.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/sa-road-map-final-dec-08.pdf