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In the Environmental Debate, Business Aviation
Has a Good Story To Tell
As the people in the business aviation community know, the industry has long led the way in promoting advances aimed at reducing the its environmental footprint.
While aviation emissions are only a tiny fraction of all transportation emissions, and business aircraft emissions are a small portion of those, the industry has continually leveraged technology to minimize emissions, while improving safety and efficiency.
For example, a decade ago, the industry developed winglets for general aviation aircraft, which optimize aircraft performance and flight range, and contribute to a more efficient fuel burn, thereby reducing emissions. This equipment is now in place on a large number of general aviation aircraft.
In addition, the industry continues to reduce engine emissions by applying new technologies, which means that today’s aircraft engines are cleaner, quieter and more fuel-efficient than ever.
Operational improvements advanced by business aviation also have resulted in national airspace system efficiencies that help the environment. Over two years ago, NBAA Members began equipping aircraft, at their own cost, with cockpit technology allowing for reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM), effectively doubling the system’s airspace capacity.
Also, business aviation was at the forefront of the development of automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) – considered the cornerstone for air traffic control system modernization and capacity expansion, because it allows for optimal efficiencies in routing, approaches and other uses of the aviation system.
NBAA Members also supported the development of required navigation performance (RNP) and special aircraft and aircrew requirements (SAAR), which also produces efficiencies by enabling operators to custom-tailor flight paths, thereby minimizing fuel burn and noise, while preserving operational safety.
In spite of this impressive record on reducing emissions, NBAA and the industry will continue working to minimize the environmental impact of business aviation by supporting continuing advances in technology for aircraft and operations, as well as reasonable and balanced policies that support the industry’s twin goals of promoting the mobility and growth of business aviation while minimizing its environmental footprint.
Business Aviation and Climate Change
In November 2009, a host of business aviation associations unveiled a plan to build upon the industry’s continued record of advancements to limit the industry’s emissions footprint. The plan targets carbon-neutral growth by 2020, improvements in fuel efficiency by an average of two percent per year until 2020, and a reduction in total carbon emissions of 50 percent by 2050 relative to 2005.
Review the summary document (754KB, PDF)
Review the full position paper (754KB, PDF)
and Climate Change: The Views of Aviation Industry Stakeholders, February, 2009
(116 KB, PDF)
This February 2009 paper, endorsed by 20 aviation associations, offers a constructive set of principles to frame the discussion of policy tools to address aviation and climate change.
Aircraft Operations -
Resources to help minimize the environmental impact of aircraft operations.
Aircraft Operations -
Resources to help the security of aircraft operations.
- December 3, 2012
The U.S. Senate last week struck down restrictions on Department of Defense research into alternative aviation fuel sources, a move strongly supported by NBAA and 12 other aviation groups. The 67-32 vote removes language from the National Defense Authorization Act that would have prevented the military from purchasing biofuels if they cost more than petroleum. The full legislation containing the language must still be passed by the Senate, then be reconciled with its counterpart bill passed by the House of Representatives before it is submitted to President Obama for final approval. Read more about Read more about the NDAA.
- June 4, 2012
NBAA has joined 12 other aviation groups in supporting continued research by the Department of Defense on the use of biofuels, even as lawmakers have supported stripping funding for those efforts. In a letter to lawmakers, a coalition of aviation groups protested a recent vote to block the department's participation in programs to construct biofuel refineries, which would severely curtail research into the use of biofuels derived from plants such as algae and sugar cane to supplement the use of petroleum-based jet fuel. "It is our collective belief that the ongoing efforts of the United States military on alternative fuels are helping reduce the cost of those alternatives and will ultimately help reduce our reliance on foreign oil," the groups wrote in their May 23 letter. Read more about the coalition's stance.
- August 25, 2011
Since late 2010, the Gulfstream Aerospace plant in Savannah, GA has recycled more than 1.2 million pounds of workplace waste, including wood, paper, metal, plastic and cardboard. "We are now capturing and recycling 41 percent of our municipal solid waste," said Heidi Fedak of Gulfstream Aerospace Communications. "Ultimately, we'd like to see that number at 100 percent." Learn More.
- September 3, 2010
On August 27, NBAA and other general aviation associations submitted joint comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about the search for an unleaded replacement for 100 low lead fuel. An EPA proposed rulemaking brought NBAA together with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the National Air Transportation Association, the American Petroleum Institute, and the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association. Among other findings, the comments note that insufficient data and modeling exist to indicate that lead emissions from GA cause or contribute to any violation of national air quality standards. The comments also reiterate the industry’s long-standing commitment to finding alternatives to leaded fuel. Review the letter.
- June 10, 2010
NBAA and a coalition of general aviation leaders, including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, and others have been responding to the government’s call for eliminating lead in aviation fuel with a coordinated effort to minimize the industry’s emissions footprint while supporting the mobility and growth of general aviation. The coalition recently sent a letter requesting an extension to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) request for alternatives to lead in fuel. Review the letter.
President's Pespective, Business Aviation Insider, May/June 2008
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen discusses how business aviation has led the way in promoting advances aimed at reducing the industry’s environmental footprint.
NBAA Letter to Senator Inouye, Chairman
Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation (98 KB, PDF)
This June 23, 2008, letter from NBAA reaffirms general aviation’s commitment to reducing aircraft emissions and protecting the environment.