FAA proposes emissions rule for new aircraft
June 16, 2022
The US Federal Aviation Administration on 15 June proposed a rule that would require greater fuel efficiency for most large aircraft that would be manufactured after 1 January 2028 or that have not yet been certificated by the agency. The proposed rule that would affect "new subsonic jet aircraft and large turboprop and propeller aircraft" is aimed at meeting the goal set by ICAO of reaching net-zero emissions from aviation by 2050 and would also follow a law enacted in 2021 by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Public comments on the proposed rule must sent to FAA by 15 August. Aircraft already in operation would not be impacted by the proposed rule, FAA states, while noting that aircraft not yet certificated that would be impacted include Boeing 777X aircraft; future 787 models; and Airbus A330neo jets. "Civil aircraft such as these were responsible for 10% of domestic transportation emissions and 3% of total US greenhouse gas emissions prior to the pandemic," FAA says. "The emission standard in the proposed rule uses a metric that equates fuel efficiency and consumption with reductions in carbon dioxide. The proposed rule also accommodates a wide variety of fuel-efficient measures when manufacturing planes, including improvements to aerodynamics, engine propulsion efficiency and reductions in an aircraft’s empty mass before loading." A push by environmental activists and government officials during recent years to reduce emissions with the aim of minimising the damage of climate change has spurred companies including United Airlines and Boeing to invest in sustainable aviation fuel and other technologies to reduce emissions. Airlines during the Covid-19 pandemic also accelerated the retirement of older aircraft in favor of leasing or purchasing more fuel-efficient jets. Rising fuel prices are already increasing pressure on the aviation industry to increase fuel efficiency.

SAF flows through Colonial and Buckeye pipelines to LaGuardia
June 16, 2022
Sustainable aviation fuel has been delivered from a Texas refinery to New York LaGuardia airport via the Colonial and Buckeye pipeline systems, which according to Finnish renewable fuels producer Neste marks the first time existing petroleum pipelines have been used for SAF distribution to a New York airport. Delta Air Lines will use the SAF to power a flight from LaGuardia. The Atlanta-based carrier is a partner in the demonstration programme, along with Neste, Colonial and Buckeye. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey provided governmental and regulatory support. "These efforts show how existing infrastructure can be used to transport SAF to East Coast airports and drive down emissions – a critical step as we move toward a more sustainable future for air travel," Delta's chief sustainability officer Pamela Fletcher states. Neste says the partners have shown "that SAF can go anywhere there is an existing pipeline currently carrying fossil jet fuel". Chris Cooper, Neste's vice-president of renewable aviation in Americas, adds: "The US East Coast is home to some of the USA's busiest airports, and the vast majority of them get their fuel from the Colonial Pipeline system and, in New York, the Buckeye Pipeline system. What we're doing here is showing that just around the corner is a future where passengers at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson up to LaGuardia, JFK and EWR can board a plane flying on SAF." United Airlines in May agreed a deal with Neste to buy up to 52.5 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel over the next three years. The SAF will be used for United flights at Amsterdam Schiphol and "potentially other airports as well", the Chicago-based carrier stated on 10 May. Neste in August 2020 began supplying Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and JetBlue Airways with SAF for flights departing San Francisco International.

Airline executives voice cautious optimism for recovery
June 15, 2022
Airline executives are bullish on the mid- to long-term recovery prospects in Asia-Pacific, but are charting the return to capacity and growth in a more cautious manner amid current constraints in supply and economic headwinds. During a panel session at the Aviation Festival Asia 2022 in Singapore, airline executives acknowledged that the pandemic had recalibrated airlines' appetite for risk but had not dampened the fundamental drivers of their business in Asia-Pacific. "If you go back in history, for half a century, the aviation industry has been through oil shocks and wars and terrorism but has doubled in size every 15 years despite all that," says Air India Express chief executive Aloke Singh. "Although the growth has slowed in mature markets, but in our part of the world there is lot of headroom for growth. "While there may be [pretty serious] challenges in the short term that you cannot just wish off, when you take the mid- and long-term view, we are absolutely bullish. The fact is that the key drivers of our business are intact." Malaysia Airlines group chief executive Izham Ismail concurs: "We are bullish on the future, but in a cautious manner and are selective in the market and customer segments we want to explore. If we go back to where we were before Covid, to a market full of overcapacity, [it would be very tough] to drive profitability." AirAsia Malaysia chief executive Riad Asmat echoes the sentiment of cautious optimism, citing the opportunities in the size of the ASEAN market. "There's a demand of sorts after two to three years, be it for leisure or business. AirAsia and other airlines see the opportunity right in front of us. It's now just a matter of whether we are prepared to grab it in the right way and the right manner with the partners." He notes the airline has seen a "real uptick on movement" up to 50% of pre-Covid levels and has activated about 40 aircraft out of the 100 in its fleet. However, he highlights that "airline executives are more focused on the risks you're facing if you flood capacity to market". He cites areas such as cost and ability to fill up seats. Constraints in manpower is a short-term issue airlines are facing across the board. Ismail says: "We see there is pent-up demand, but supply to the market is not [able to be restored] in a blink of an eye and this is constraining the aviation industry. We face issues of resources and putting the airplane back into the sky. "[To] make matters worse, the inflation is real and coming our way, the fuel and forex are strong headwinds to the industry." Airlines are grappling with the high pent-up demand for travel in a very complex environment, says Ismail, and have not been able to put capacity back as quickly, driven by acute shortages in manpower from pilots to cabin crew and baggage handlers. Ismail says resources will be a challenge in the next six to 12 months, noting that these are issues airlines in Europe and North America are facing. However, against this backdrop of capacity recovery, Ismail cautions against the danger of airlines going back to the same issue of inducing "too much capacity in the marketplace". Asmat notes there has not yet been too much reluctance from aviation workers to come back. AirAsia Malaysia has been planning its manpower needs for the next six to eight months in view of demand, targeting the year-end to be at full strength. Singh points out that while there is available talent, training manpower requires time. "Licensed and trained manpower cannot be produced overnight. We are working with regulators and this will take at least six to 12 months the time," he says. The executives concur on the bright prospects in India. "India is very exciting, in the next five years moving forward. It's a space everyone should watch. The activities happening in the home ground is very interesting," Ismail says. Commenting on the opportunities for expansion, Singh notes: "In the short-haul international market, which is the space that we're in, the numbers are large, about 45 million according to our estimates if you look at a radius of about six hours to and from India. "We feel that the potential has still not been exploited to the extent that it could. Two-thirds of that is towards the west, the Gulf and the Middle East and one-third is Southeast Asia. In this part of the world, we haven't yet scratched the surface and there is enormous room to grow." Asmat notes India is a very crucial market for Southeast Asia, but notes that connectivity here is "very limited". "In reality, the market is up for the taking, there's a lot of downs and negatives, I hear it almost every day, but we look at it from the perspective of opportunities," he adds.


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