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Environmental Concerns Will Have Growing Impact on General Aviation

ORLANDO, FL, October 8, 2008 – In yesterday’s "NBAA Update on Environmental Issues Impacting General Aviation," speakers predicted that business aviation will continue to face worldwide concern about the overall effect of aviation on the environment – including that for general aviation – despite the fact that the industry has had an exemplary track record of minimizing its impact on climate change.

Don Spruston, director general of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), said, "The real hot-button issue today is climate change. The public perceives it as a problem, so it is a problem for our industry."

Spruston noted that aviation is responsible for a mere two percent of CO2 emissions worldwide, and that business aviation is responsible for just 1/50 of that – an amount roughly equal to the annual output of a medium electrical power generation plant. Nevertheless, the European Union (EU) is planning to include aviation in an emissions trading scheme (ETS) that would affect all aircraft weighing over 12,500 pounds and flying into the EU by 2012.

IBAC, along with the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) will try to minimize the burden of an ETS on operators, but Spruston said business aviation needs to develop "a substantive proposal” to prevent an unpalatable solution from being imposed. We cannot afford to sit back and [simply] say we are a small emitter."

Ed Smith, senior vice president of international and environmental affairs for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), said that aviation environmental regulations being formulated are not proportional to general aviation’s (GA’s) impact and were designed for airlines. He also warned that legislation calling for a "cap and trade" system likely will be proposed in Congress next year.

Business aviation needs to emphasize GA’s economic impact, which is $150 billion per year annually, said Smith, who noted that the point-to-point nature of business aviation travel makes it inherently efficient. He also said that advances in engine and composite technologies and aerodynamics have enabled the specific fuel consumption of the business aircraft fleet to improve one percent per year.

"Industry must participate and shape the debate," concluded Smith, "emphasizing science and facts, not sound bites and emotion."

NBAA’s Steve Brown, senior vice president, operations & administration, noted that NBAA continues to pursue a variety of environmental initiatives. The Association formally adopted an environmental policy in June and is in the process of forming a standing committee to focus on the issues of noise, local air and water quality, and greenhouse gases on an ongoing basis.

NBAA also is involved with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection, which is responsible for developing future worldwide environmental standards for aviation. In addition, NBAA is providing environmental input to the Joint Program Development Office, which is developing plans for implementing the Next Generation Air Transportation System, or "NextGen."

Meanwhile, John Meara of Gulfstream Aerospace told aircraft operators there are steps they can take today to reduce their CO2 emissions. By flight planning efficiently, limiting the time an auxiliary power unit runs, taxiing on a single engine, conducting reduced-thrust takeoffs and continuous descent approaches, and using long-range cruise settings, a Gulfstream G550 operator could save 22,000 pounds of CO2 during a 2,000-mile trip.

Recent editions of NBAA’s Business Aviation Insider newsletter included a two-part feature on tips and tools for efficient fuel use. The series can be reviewed at www.nbaa.org/insider.

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