The aeronautics industry is committed to contributing to the collective effort to protect the environment, particularly given projected growth in air traffic (forecast to increase two-fold from 18,000 to 36,000 aircraft between 2000 and 2020).
ACARE, the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe, has defined highly ambitious goals which we, at Dassault Aviation, support:
- Cut perceived noise in half (representing a reduction of 20 decibels on take-offs and landings combined),
- Cut CO2 emissions in half,
- Reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions five-fold,
- Reduce the environmental impact of aircraft production and withdrawal from service.
These goals naturally follow on from the reductions achieved thanks to technological progress made over the last forty years: improvements to engine efficiency, aerodynamics and aircraft weight have reduced:
- Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 70%,
- Sound nuisance by 90%.
Thanks to these improvements, the global environmental impact of the aeronautical sector is today relatively modest:
- Aeronautics only accounts for 2% of human CO2 production.
- Taking all uses into account, jet fuel accounts for 6% of the world’s oil consumption, that is approximately 180 million metric tons per year for over two billion passengers and 500 billion metric tons of cargo.
Benchmark: per passenger and per kilometer, fuel consumption of a modern airplane is similar to that of a car, although it travels at a much higher speed.
By combining technological progress (engines, fuels and aerodynamics), future generations of “green” aircraft should meet the ACARE goals, particularly if they fly in a more optimized airspace.