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Agreement on supporting metric system is key industry milestone

Boeing commends ICAO progress on developing a global aviation carbon standard

Boeing commended the agreement reached by the International Civil Aviation Organization‘s (ICAO) Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection on the metric system which will support the carbon dioxide (CO2) standard being developed for aircraft. Teams from ICAO’s member states, the aerospace industry and non-governmental organizations have worked extensively on the development of the CO2 standard since it was directed by ICAO in 2010.

"This is a tremendous achievement by the committee that has worked so diligently the past several years to reach agreement on the CO2 standard and metric system that supports it," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes Vice President of Environment and Aviation Policy Billy Glover. "Our industry continues to advocate for global standards for aviation emissions developed through ICAO because the process works; this achievement is proof-positive."

The metric system defines how an aircraft’s CO2 emissions can be evaluated in a method relevant to how aircraft are operated. It is based on fuel burn performance at three different cruise conditions. To address the wide variety of aircraft sizes, the metric accounts for the fuselage geometry and the maximum aircraft takeoff weight.

The metric system agreement, which was reached this week in Saint Petersburg, Russia, is a major milestone on the path to finalizing an ICAO CO2 standard. The aerospace industry has already committed to continued efficiency improvements through enhanced design, operational efficiencies and airspace redesign, and the introduction of sustainable alternative fuels. Not only are aircraft 70 percent more fuel efficient than 50 years ago, but the industry has also committed to carbon-neutral growth from 2020 forward.

ICAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations, created in 1944 to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity, as well as for aviation environmental protection. The Organization serves as the forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 191 Member States.

Theodore Koumelis
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