Feb. 23, 2021

With environmental sustainability on the minds of business aviation stakeholders worldwide, a session at the NBAA GO Flight Operations Conference explored the various methods by which flight departments can meet both mandatory and voluntary emissions reductions goals.

Sustainability “is more than just a buzzword,” said moderator Juan Muniz, lead global regulatory service specialist at Universal Weather & Aviation. “Managing your carbon footprint requires a multitude of approaches to blend your sustainable emissions reduction goals with regulatory compliance.”

The presentation began with an overview of mandatory emissions reduction programs, particularly overseas. Bruce Parry, director of environment for the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), detailed the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU-ETS) and similar programs launched by Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Work is underway to align those programs with each other and with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO’s) Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, or CORSIA. “Business aviation support[s] market-based measures [as] a valid way of tackling aviation emissions, either individually or as part of a wider emissions reduction program,” he said.

Dan Williams, senior international advisor for the FAA’s Office of Environment and Energy, outlined the agency’s work toward lowering U.S. aviation emissions. He also noted CORSIA’s role as “a gap filler” complimenting other environmental initiatives, ranging from infrastructure and technology improvements to use of biofuels.

“[CORSIA] has been a successful program, and it shows there’s a way to address these issues globally,” he said. “Operators participating in our scheme tell us it’s a pretty manageable thing to track how much fuel you’re using … [and] we’re happy to work with you to ensure you’re getting accurate data.”

As more business aviation flight operations work to curb their emissions, Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) Executive Director Steve Csonka cited increased availability of, and demand for, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) across business aviation.

“Talk to your FBO [or] your fuel supplier, talk to the potential producers out there and get on board with being able to use SAF to help lower your carbon impact on the world,” he said. “If you’re not able to acquire SAF, consider the concept of book and claim approaches [and] [voluntary carbon] offsets for your mission.”