New FAA Regulations to Combat Carbon Emissions

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has taken a significant step towards reducing carbon emissions from the aviation sector. On February 20, 2024, the FAA announced a final rule aimed at cutting carbon pollution emitted by most large airplanes operating within the United States airspace. This move is part of a broader effort to incorporate fuel-efficient technologies into the aviation industry, ensuring a greener future. Aircraft manufactured after January 1, 2028, will need to meet these new efficiency standards, which apply to a wide range of planes including subsonic jets, large turboprops, and propeller planes that have not yet been certified.

Aircraft Affected by the New Rule

Several types of commercial airplanes will fall under the scope of these new regulations. Notably, the Boeing 777-X, Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Airbus A330-neo, as well as business jets like the Cessna Citation and civil turboprop airplanes such as the ATR 72 and the Viking Air Limited Q400, will all be required to adhere to the updated standards. It’s important to note that the rule will not affect aircraft that are currently in service, focusing instead on new manufacturing standards for future aircraft.

The Impact on Carbon Emissions

The aviation sector is a significant contributor to carbon emissions, with civil aircraft accounting for 9% of domestic transportation emissions and 2% of the total US carbon pollution. By implementing these new standards, the FAA aims to make a considerable dent in these numbers. The US is obligated to align its regulations with those of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) concerning aircraft emissions among other aviation-related issues. The Airplane Fuel Efficiency Certification issued by the FAA establishes fuel efficiency certification requirements for subsonic jet airplanes and propeller-driven airplanes, marking a large step forward in the effort to manufacture more fuel-efficient airplanes. FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker emphasized the importance of this rule in reaching the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, underscoring the administration’s commitment to combating climate change.

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