- India is one of the fastest growing domestic aviation markets and is projected to become the world’s third largest air passenger market in 10 years.
- For decades, aviation has been considered a major polluter. However, these environmental impacts have not gone ignored. As a result, big changes are infiltrating the industry.
- In a white paper titled ‘National Green Aviation Policy’, the government said airlines should use modern, less noisy and more fuel efficient aircraft while all new and upcoming airports should have clean energy generation projects on their site.
What is Green Aviation?
Green Aviation involves activities to improve aircraft fuel efficiency, develop the next generation of efficient air traffic control, and develop new technologies and systems engineering processes to reach the future of carbon-neutral air transportation across the globe.
- Aviation is one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions globally and currently it contributes to 2% of overall anthropogenic Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emission (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2004).
- ICAO has warned that the aviation industry needs to prepare for severe disruptions as a result of climate change and that it needs to make full use of clean technology and policy tools in order to reduce its carbon footprint along with other environmental impacts.
- Aircraft noise near airports poses major health and environmental risk raising public concerns and is likely to impact future operations, as well as expansion and development of airports.
- The development and operation of an airport causes gaseous and particulate emissions from different sources including aircraft operations, ground support equipment, airport infrastructure and landside access traffic.
- Waste Management by municipal bodies around the airports is also one of the concern areas for airport & aircraft operation. Improper waste management leads to bird attraction which is a threat for aircraft operation at airport.
- The Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India is committed to inclusive and sustainable growth of the civil aviation sector in the country while mitigating its negative impacts on environment at the same time.To overcome the above stated concerns and address these issues, the need for a Green Civil Aviation Policy has been envisaged with a clear objective of achieving sustainable growth of the civil aviation.
Aviation in India
- Aviation is an essential contributor to the health and well-being of the nation’s economy. Commercial aviation has also evolved as the fastest, safest, and most far-reaching transportation mode globally. The world economy benefits from aviation greatly from the ability to move people and products all over the globe – quickly and safely.
- The Indian air transport sector has shown very strong growth in recent years and expected to grow faster in coming years. The Indian domestic aviation market is currently the fastest growing domestic markets globally (measured in terms of revenue passenger kilometers). The magnitude of the future potential growth in the Indian domestic market is evident from the fact that, the number of domestic journeys undertaken in 2017 represents just 7.3% of India’s total population.
- The fundamental drivers of air passenger demand, viz. population, demographics and increasing incomes are favourable and supportive of on-going growth which is likely to continue in the near future. Over the next 20 years International Air traffic Association (IATA) forecasts passenger growth of 6.1% per year on average – the number of annual air passenger journeys is forecasted to increase by more than 350 million over the period, moving to almost 520 million journeys in 2037.
- This strong growth outlook for air passenger demand will see India overtake Germany, Japan, Spain, and the UK within the next 10 years to become the world’s third largest air passenger market. The positive outlook will see India move up from the current 7th largest air passenger market in the world to 3rd largest air passenger market (behind China and the United States) within the next decade.
White Paper on the National Green Aviation Policy
India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) reportedly published a white paper proposing a National Green Aviation Policy for public comments –
- In a white paper titled ‘National Green Aviation Policy’, the government said airlines should use modern, less noisy and more fuel efficient aircraft while all new and upcoming airports should have clean energy generation projects on their site. The policy, however, does not propose any carbon tax on the industry.
- It said that air safety watchdog the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) should work with the oil ministry and private agencies to facilitate availability of commercially viable bio jet fuels.
- There would be a special provision and timelines that would be worked out in collaboration with central and state government bodies, environment ministry, pollution control boards and the DGCA to speed up the developmental activities with due care environment sustainability, it added.
- “All aviation stakeholders shall also explore possibilities of use of bio-fuel and other alternate fuels with lower emissions for ground vehicle application,” said the policy.
- It said that companies in the sector should chose sustainable sites for new airports and adopts green building plans.
- The civil aviation ministry will create a simplified regulatory regime to speed up clearances for airport development and other aviation projects while taking due care of environment sustainability, the white paper said.
About the policy
Vision of Green Aviation Policy is to enable, promote and strengthen all inclusive, green and sustainable growth of air transportation in India.
- To support sustainable and inclusive growth of the Indian aviation sector
- To make Indian aviation one of the most resource efficient sectors
- To enable and promote solar and other renewable energy usage
- Enhance aviation systems from conventional to advanced, environment friendly systems
- To reduce greenhouse gases and other emissions in line with national and global standards
- Enhance competency on environmental sustainability for all aviation professionals & stakeholders
The policy is aimed to address all major aspects of environment in the aviation sector. The identified key policy areas include
- Environment Management System
- Airport Master Planning
- Green Infrastructure Programme
- Noise Management
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change
- Local Air Quality
- Energy & Resource Conservation
- Solar and other Renewable Energy
- Waste Management
- Water Management
- Land, Soil, Habitat and Biodiversity
- Spills, Releases and other Incidents
- Competency & Skill Development
- Simplified Regulatory Regime
The Policy will be aligned with the relevant National and International frameworks like-
- ICAO’s Vision, Mission and ambitious goals towards environment protection
- United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030
- India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) under UNFCCC- Paris Agreement
- Ministry of Civil Aviation’s objective to achieve Sustainable Aviation as outlined in National Civil Aviation Policy 2016.
- “All aviation stakeholders shall also explore the possibilities of use of bio-fuel and other alternate fuels with lower emissions for ground vehicle application,” it added.
- Further, the paper noted that the stakeholders would work closely with government agencies, local bodies for effective waste management around the airport to ensure reduced bird hazards and safe airport operation.
- A centre of excellence for green aviation has also been proposed, that would focus on identifying environment friendly solutions, research, competency and skill developments and aviation programmes, among others.
- At present, Air travel accounts for 2-3% of GHG (Green House Gas) emissions, but it is estimated to increase to 5% by 2050. This is because air travel is becoming increasingly popular. The revenue of the aviation sector is doubled between 2004 and 2014. Carbon emissions from aviation are increasing rapidly. The number of flights worldwide is expected to double in the next 15 years.
- Green Aviation is a continuous process and success can be achieved only by collective efforts in different areas such as excellent design and construction of aircraft and superior aerodynamics. Alternative and green fuel sources such as Fuel Cells and Bio-Fuel Efficient Engines, Transportation Optimization Network Development, efficient air traffic management, legislative policies and positive economic resources are extremely important in terms of green aviation.
Worldwide examples of Green Aviation
- Airplanes are notorious for noise. However, manufacturers like Rolls Royce are working toward a solution. By pursuing quieter engines through acoustic liners and the optimization of fan, turbine and compressor construction, Rolls Royce has been able to reduce engine noise significantly for both Airbus and Boeing customers.
- Even before the recession of 2008, major airplane manufactures, like Boeing and Airbus, had begun pursuing more eco-friendly aircraft. By 2010, Airbus introduced the A320neo (reducing fuel consumption by nearly 16%) and, on its heels, came Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner (reducing usage by roughly 20%). Since then, improvements to consumption have been a high priority with each new model.
- While improvements to fuel efficiency are an important part, diversifying fuel types is just as vital. Today, the aviation industry is pursuing several alternatives to traditional oil, including Honeywell’s Green Jet Fuel, ethanol and even bio-kerosene in order to identify better methods of powering aircraft.