Discover the European Aviation Environment Report 2019

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EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) has just released its European Aviation Environment Report 2019. This document presents an assessment of the environmental performance of the aviation sector. In a context where environment is at the heart of the concerns and when the implications for the airport world are so great, these data are valuable to help market players make the best decisions for their infrastructure.

The European Union and the States Members have put in place a number of improvement measures in various areas (aircraft technology, air traffic management, airports or market-based measures) but the current results do not compensate the effects of increased traffic.
In this report, we learn that the number of annual flights has increased by 8% between 2014 and 2017, and is expected to increase by another 42% between 2017 and 2040. The number of major airports hosting more than 50,000 aircraft movements yearly is expected to increase from 82 to 110 between 2017 and 2040. As a result, noise nuisances created by the aviation sector may impact new populations. But it also says that since 2008, the average noise level of large aircrafts operating in Europe has decreased considerably, notably thanks to the arrival of the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787. 
The report also reveals that the EU has the potential to increase its production of biofuels for aviation. However, few airlines use it because of the extra cost compared to conventional fuels and the lack of prioritization in most national bioenergy policies.
The report also examines certain measures put in place and their effects. For example, many airports apply taxes related to aircraft noise and CO2 emission levels, but these have only a limited influence on the composition of the fleets because of their relatively small amount (less than 1 % of operating costs for airlines). 
On another aspect, between 2013 and 2020, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is expected to lead to a net reduction of 193.4 million tones of CO2 (twice the annual emissions of Belgium) thanks to the funding the aviation sector made on CO2 reductions in other sectors of the system.
On an optimistic note, more and more states and organizations are putting in place measures to adapt and strengthen the resilience of the aviation sector to the effects of climate change (eg higher temperatures, higher sea level).

It therefore appears, if not clearly stated before, that only the combined action of all the players in the industry will bring satisfactory results.

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