ICAO Says It Is Making Progress on New Aircraft CO2 and Noise Standards

The International Civil Aviation Organization’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection issued a press release on February 14, 2013, stating that it has “made important progress” on the aircraft certification procedures for a new CO2 standard for craft as well as a new “global noise standard that will result in quieter skies and airports.”

ICAO, in its news release, stated that the new CO2 certification procedures follow up on the CAEP’s decision last July on the metric system to be used to characterize CO2 emissions from aircraft of varying types and technologies.  Now that the CO2 certification procedures are agreed upon, CAEP will focus on agreement covering the stringency and scope of applicability of the aircraft CO2 standard.

In addition, consensus was reached regarding a new noise standard for new-design aircraft entering into service from 2017 and from 2020 for the lower weight aircraft.  CAEP agreed that the new standard would be 7EPNdB below ICAO’s current standard.  The EPNdB is a measure of human annoyance due to aircraft noise, that takes account the perceived noise level and duration.  It should be noted that this standard is used for certification of aircraft, not for the establishment of noise contours in communities surrounding airports.  The FAA will still be using its antiquated DNL standard for purposes of Environmental Assessments, Environmental Impact Statements, and Part 150 Noise Compatibility Programs.  See FAA’s DNL Noise Standards Allow Significant Health Risks to Communities Surrounding Airports

The CO2 and noise agreements have received praise from several aviation lobbying groups.  For example, both the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed ICAO announcement.  SeeGAMA Praises Environmental Progress at ICAO and IATA Applauds ICAO-CAEP Agreement on a More Stringent Noise Standard for Aircraft and Progress on Aircraft CO2 Standard.  There was, however, some criticism of the standards. Dimitri Simos, founder of Lissys Ltd., an airline-engineering software company near Leicester, England, stated that the new CO2 standards “will mask the actual emissions of aircraft.”  ICAO Carbon-Cut Plan Will Mask Emissions Output: EngineerBloomberg News.  In addition,    “[t]o say it clear,” the blog aeroturbopower concluded that the new noise standard “is no regulation at all, this just showing what has been state-of-the-art before.” ICAO’s new noise and CO2 regulations a miss! 

The recommendations agreed by CAEP will be reported to the ICAO Council later in 2013 for further action.

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