Aviation industry experts say emissions levels are falling by about 2 percent per year as older airplanes are replaced by more fuel-efficient aircrafts. To adjust, the Advisory Council for Aerospace Research in Europe (ACARE) set three new main targets for the industry to achieve by 2020, the Guardian reports.
Based on a benchmark of emissions from a large aircraft in 2000, the ACARE is looking to cut CO2 emissions per passenger kilometer by 50 percent, to reduce oxides of nitrogen by 80 percent, and reduce noise pollution by 50 percent.
Some 15-20 percent of CO2 reductions are expected to come from engine improvements, with another 20-25 percent reduction coming from the use of lighter materials such as carbon composites for air frames. Better air traffic management – such as reducing the time an aircraft circles an airport to wait for landing slots – is expected to reduce it another 5-10 percent.
Last July, Rolls-Royce and British Airways announced they are starting test program to research alternative fuels for the aviation industry. And Japan Airline, Continental Airlines, Boeing, and GE Aviation have all made plans to conduct biofuel test flights.