Airline CO2 emissions covered by the EU ETS increase 2.6 per cent in 2010 as they resume upward trend

Airline CO2 emissions covered by the EU ETS increase 2.6 per cent in 2010 as they resume upward trend | RDC Aviation

Lufthansa aircraft at Heathrow

Thu 27 Jan 2011 - According to data just published by consultants RDC Aviation, the total CO2 emissions of scheduled airlines flying to, from and within Europe rose by 2.66% in 2010. This follows a fall of 3.86% in 2009 compared to 2008, so overall emissions have not yet returned to pre-recession levels. Although final air traffic figures for last year have yet to be published, the increase in emissions follows an estimate by the Association of European Airlines that its members carried 10 million more passengers in 2010 than in 2009 and recorded a 2.5% increase in revenue passenger-kilometres (RPKs). Lufthansa pipped British Airways to the post as the airline with the highest European CO2 emissions, followed by Air France and KLM, although all four were down on their 2008 outputs.


Breaking down CO2 emissions covered by the Aviation EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) by country, airlines serving airports in the United Kingdom emitted a total of 44.9 million tonnes in 2010, considerably higher than Germany’s 31.4 million tonnes and France’s 25 million tonnes. Airlines flying to and from London’s Heathrow Airport were responsible for 16.2 million tonnes, followed by Frankfurt and Paris Charles de Gaulle at around 9.8 million tonnes each.


Reflecting the continued strength of the low-cost airline sector, which appears to have withstood the effects of the recession in Europe, Ryanair, easyJet and airberlin maintained their year-on-year growth in emissions. Ryanair’s emissions were up by over 20% and airberlin’s by 18%. The rapid growth of Middle East carriers is reflected by sizeable increases in CO2 emissions from their European operations. According to RDC’s estimates, CO2 emissions from Qatar Airways’ European flights rose by over 22% last year and Emirates by 11.6%. A double-digit growth in emissions by Air China is a sign of growing air traffic and the increasing influx of Chinese tourists to Europe.


It should be stressed that the figures have not been provided by the carriers themselves but are based on data from commercial aviation flight schedules supplied by Innovata at an origin or destination within the scope of the EU ETS and uses EMEP/CORINAIR ETS methodology for calculating fuel burn and conversion factors as directed by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC). RDC says the IPCC calculation logic and emissions factors use a distance-based formula between airport pairs (taking the great circle distance) and the aircraft type to calculate the CO2 emissions. This may not reflect the efficiency of different airlines using similar aircraft types but does provide a consistent method of comparison, claims RDC.


Emissions at airports are calculated by adding together all flights that arrive or depart that airport.


At present, the data only includes emissions within the EU-27 states although the scope of the Aviation EU ETS extends to non-EU countries such as Norway and Iceland.


RDC Aviation provides software, consultancy, environmental emissions analysis and data to the international aviation industry.




RDC Aviation






Source: RDC Aviation



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