Until the end of 2050 European aviation sector will pursue an ambitious goal to reduce CO2 emissions in the aviation industry to zero. Experts believe that in order to achieve this goal all the stakeholders of the sector, including also air traffic management service providers, will need to contribute. Discussions on possibilities and concrete methods to make the aviation sector more sustainable will be held during the conference “Climate Change and its Impact on Air Traffic Management” organized in Lithuania on September 22-23 by state enterprise Oro Navigacija, international partners and partners of the enterprise.
According to chief executive officer of state enterprise Oro Navigacija Saulius Batavičius, the aviation sector has a huge potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into the atmosphere. Based on the data of European Environment Agency, aviation is responsible for 13.9 % of GHG emissions.
“Despite the fact that last year the number of flights decreased significantly due to the restrictions imposed because of COVID-19 pandemic, they are being restored and we have to start doing our homework right now to achieve our ambitious decarbonisation goals. However, they can only be achieved when the entire aviation industry works together, including also air traffic management service providers”, as S. Batavičius noticed.
He also added that while the activity of air navigation service providers does not pollute the environment directly, these stakeholders of the aviation sector can make a pro-active contribution to accelerating the process of reaching the sustainability goals.
“Even though the fuel is consumed by the airlines and the number of flights is increasing due to economic growth and decreasing ticket prices, air traffic controllers should put effort to ensure fast and efficient movement of aircraft, indicate the shortest route to aircraft, thus, seeking to reduce the fuel consumption of the airlines and decrease CO2 emissions. There are always aspects to be improved, since there are many influencing factors and some of them are difficult to control, such as military and geopolitical factors”, stated chief executive officer of state enterprise Oro Navigacija.
Changes both at international and local level
According to the Head of Department of Development and Innovations of state enterprise Oro Navigacija Lina Liuberskytė, back in 2004 the European Commission has launched concept of the Single European Sky and undertook certain environmentally friendly actions: “The introduction of certain measures has increased the efficiency of the European route airspace. For example, the subdivision of the airspace into functional blocks has reduced the fragmentation of European airspace and consequently it was reorganized taking into consideration air traffic flows. That meant that aircraft started using more convenient routes, reducing the number of delays and polluting the environment less”.
L. Liuberskytė added that actions implemented quite recently also substantiate the actual results. For example, in the European Free Route Airspace, launched in 2008, assists in solving the problems of efficiency, capacity and environmental challenges of the aviation sector.
It is estimated that after complete introduction of free route airspace 3 thousand tons of fuel and 3 million of Euros respectively will be saved up every day, whereas the amount of carbon dioxide emitted to the environment will be decreased by 10 thousand tons.
However, according to her, similar measures are undertaken only at international, but at local level as well: “Last year we implemented many actions provided for in the joint plan of noise reduction measures prepared by us and state enterprise Lithuanian Airports. The changes include: introduction of a new air traffic control system, which, among other benefits, enables free route airspace, which in turn allows the airlines to use more direct routes and consume the fuel more efficiently, updates of the approach for landing and departure schemes, taking into consideration the concept of consistent aircraft take-off operations, which has great potential to reduce not only the level of noise, but also CO2 emissions”
Searching for solutions to the problems during the conference
The Head of Department of Development and Innovations of state enterprise Oro Navigacija emphasized that the entire aviation sector understands that air transport has undeniable impact on the changing climate conditions. On the other hand, the climate change and the more frequently evidenced phenomena associated with it are also affecting the aviation and hampering the ability to fly efficiently.
According to L. Liuberskytė, that is the cause why attempts will be made during the conference “Climate Change and its Impact on Air Traffic Management” held in Vilnius on September 22-23 to consider the climate change from both angles and to look for sustainable methods that would assist in solving the problems relevant for the entire sector.
“That will be already the fourth international conference of the Central European Functional Airspace Block, which, as a member of the Baltic Functional Airspace Block, Oro Navigacija organises together with many partners. The aim of the conference is to discuss the issues relevant to the European air traffic management system and to draw the attention of aviation market stakeholders as well as the European Commission to these significant problems. The conference will be truly exceptional, because not only practitioners, such as air traffic control service providers, but also foreign and Lithuanian scientists or scientific organizations, such as Vilnius Tech, will be looking for unified solutions”, claimed the specialist.
She highlighted that at the conference the participants will present various research data, insights and suggestions how to reduce the negative impact at different levels of the aviation chain: “That is one of the most efficient ways to accelerate the search for modern and effective solutions and their implementation in practice, thus, we hope that the discussions on especially relevant topics will be productive and will inspire to seek faster progress in reducing CO2 emissions not only the stakeholder of aviation sector”.
About state enterprise Oro Navigacija:
State enterprise Oro Navigacija is a certified European air navigation service provider, which provides air traffic management, communications, navigation and surveillance as well as aeronautical information services within the entire airspace of the Republic of Lithuania, also within the airspace over the territorial waters and the Baltic Sea, which is part of Vilnius flight information region. The enterprise also ensures continuous operation of the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre, the organization and coordination of search and rescue operations in case of aircraft accident.
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