For decades, Boeing and others in our industry have been improving the environmental performance of our products.
But while aviation accounts for just 2% of global man-made CO2 emissions, air travel is growing and we fully recognise the need for more to be done. Boeing is playing its part by investing aggressively to identify, implement and develop new solutions to further improve the environmental performance of its products. We are supporting industry-wide initiatives to reduce greenhouse as emissions by 25% by 2020, using a systemic approach that considers research and development, operational uses and aircraft retirement. Boeing is not only looking at the long-term, but what can be accomplished today. There are near-term solutions that can reduce the environmental impact of aviation and we are actively pursuing these in collaboration with our partners.
Commercial aircraft fuel and hence CO2 efficiency has improved more than 70% over the past 40 years and the 787 will deliver a further step change in performance when it enters service in 2008. Improvements in aerodynamics, engine efficiency and use of lighter weight materials and systems are all making a major contribution. Boeing continues to work aggressively to improve aircraft fuel and CO2 efficiency. We are looking at a range of environmentally progressive technologies including alternative, low-CO2 aviation fuels and fuel cells as potential sources of power for aircraft Auxiliary Power Units.
Aircraft noise levels have been reduced by approximately 75% over the past 40 years. Boeing has pioneered quiet aircraft technology and we continue this work today in partnership with engine manufacturers, air traffic managers and airport operators. The 787 will have a 60% smaller noise footprint than previous comparable aircraft. Additional noise reductions are being achieved through the use of new technologies such as chevrons on the engine cowl and the availability of Blended Winglets, which will reduce emissions a further 3 - 5%.
To help enhance the air quality around airports we are pioneering low NOx combustors on our new products and pursuing other innovative solutions, such as fuel cell Auxiliary Power Units, which have no emissions.
Boeing aircraft enable point-to-point routing which is the most efficient way to travel. This eliminates the need for 'feeder' flights into hub airports resulting in reduced flight times, fuel burn, noise and emissions.
Boeing agrees with the aviation industry consensus that improving the efficiency of the international air traffic management system represents one of the greatest near-term opportunities for achieving significant reductions in CO2 emissions. Improvements to the air traffic management system will help reduce delays which cause aircraft to fly in 'holding patterns' while waiting to land. The benefits include reduced fuel consumption resulting in lower emissions. The Continuous Descent Approach is one practical method to reduce noise and emissions.
Boeing is working with the global air transport industry in addressing environmental impacts in systemic ways, using life cycle management approaches from research/development through retirement. Aircraft life cycle considerations have been part of Boeing's strategic environmental approach and focus for years and, as an associate member to the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA), Boeing supports efforts to develop environmentally sound guidance and practices for aircraft recycling. AFRA consists of 11 members from Europe and North America and Boeing is working closely with members on a range of issues including manufacturing scrap and end-of-life composite recycling for the Boeing 787 and composite parts on other aircraft.
Point-to-point versus hub-to-hub
In a recent study published by Cranfield University, five long-haul markets were evaluated both on a hub-to-hub and hub by-pass (point-to-point) basis. The transatlantic and Europe/Asia routes studied were Glasgow/Chicago, London/San Diego, Hamburg/Tokyo, Glasgow/Dallas and Hamburg/Dallas. It was found that the noise and emissions social cost impact of the point-to-point networks was significantly lower than the hub-to-hub in all cases. The difference in environmental costs ranged between 25% and 73%, depending on the concentration of population around the airports and the degree to which the hub routing involved extra mileage. The difference increased to a range of 56% to 115%, if a stimulation factor of 25% was applied to the non-stop market. The environmental cost saving for the non-stop flight amounted to just under 20% of the total aircraft operating costs of one of the cases considered. Not only is point-to-point less expensive to operate, it is also better for the environment.
For more information on Boeing aviation and the environment visit boeing.co.uk