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Fuel & noise efficiency

70% Reduction Over 40 Years

Since the beginning of the jet age nearly 40 years ago, technology has advanced the industry to achieve incredible reductions in the environmental impact of airplanes. These advancements in technology have resulted in a 70% reduction in fuel consumption and therefore CO2 emissions (CO2 emissions from aircraft are directly proportional to the amount of aviation fuel consumed). In addition, today's airplanes are 30dB quieter - or a 90% reduction in the noise footprint area when compared to original commercial jets.

This improvement trend will continue with the newest generation of airplanes which will offer an additional 15-20% improvement in fuel and CO2 as well as reduced footprints.


Noise restrictions are a critically important environmental issue confronting the aviation industry. Noise restrictions often take the form of curfews or limitations on night flights. Cargo airlines frequently schedule their flights during overnight hours in order to meet their delivery windows and operate most efficiently - so they tend to be disproportionately affected by noise restrictions.

TIACA believes noise concerns should be addressed in accordance with the Balanced Approach guidelines developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization. Under the guidelines, once an airport noise problem has been accurately identified, four options should be reviewed with the goal of addressing the problem in the most cost-effective manner: reduction at the source (that is, quieter aircraft); land-use planning and management (to minimize the population affected by airport noise); noise abatement procedures to limit noise during aircraft takeoff, approach landing; and operating restrictions, which should only be pursued when the other three elements have been fully explored. TIACA believes the Balanced Approach  guidelines offer the most appropriate process for mitigating negative impacts that noise may have upon communities near airports while ensuring that any resulting measures do not impede the competitiveness of the airfreight industry or the broader economy.


Night Flight Restrictions

Posted: 7-28-09
Burbank Glendale Pasadena Airport Authority - Application to the FAA for Mandatory Nighttime Curfew

Action: The Burbank Glendale Pasadena Airport Authority (BGPAA) has applied to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to impose an airport noise and access restriction by establishing a mandatory nighttime curfew at Bob Hope Airport which would extend from 10:00pm through 6:59am daily. The application is under review by the FAA, which must issue its determination on or before November 1, 2009. 

BGPAA position: BGPAA states that its goal is to “eliminate or to significantly reduce nighttime aviation-related noise at the airport, now and in the future, to provide meaningful nighttime noise relief to the communities it serves.

TIACA’s View: Because of the discriminatory nature of the proposed curfew, because it is not a reasonable action in light of all factors, and because of its potential adverse impact on the national airspace and aviation system, TIACA urges the FAA to reject BGPAA’s application for a nighttime curfew. We believe that a continuation of the current voluntary curfew is a better way to balance the interests of the many stakeholders affected by this application, meet the statutory requirements facing the FAA, and comply with the ICAO balanced approach guidelines endorsed by the United States. More...


This section features current policy initiatives on which TIACA or its members may wish to comment, or at least be informed, given the potential impact on member operations. It will be updated as developments warrant.

The views and/or positions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views and/or positions of TIACA.

Regulatory Reports


Final Rule Effective date May 3, 2010
TIACA commissioned a report by Cranfield University in the UK that looks at: air transports existing contribution to global CO2 emissions, operational and regulatory constraints, future global CO2 emissions scenarios, investment in greater fuel efficiency in the future, the nature of the air cargo network and its effect on the industry's fuel efficiency and the role of air cargo in developing country exports.



Q. How is aircraft noise regulated?

A. Aircraft noise emissions are governed by international, regional and national regulations. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) governs at the international level by setting standards for noise emissions. ICAO has also set forth a “Balanced Approach to Aircraft Noise Management.”

Q. What is ICAO’s Balanced Approach?

A. ICAO endorsed the Balanced Approach in 2001 with Assembly Resolution A35-5. The approach was further affirmed in 2007 with Assembly Resolution A36-22. The Balanced Approach aims to address aircraft noise problems through a transparent process that is tailored to each individual airport. It was developed in part due to the fact that uncoordinated policy developments to address problems involving aircraft noise could prove detrimental to aviation as a whole. ICAO has issued the ICAO Document number 9829 to offer guidance on the approach and details the process which includes assessing the noise impact, defining objectives, identifying measures to address the issue and then selecting the most appropriate measures to implement. Once a noise problem is identified, the Balanced Approach endorses four principal elements for addressing the issue: reduction at source, land-use planning and management, noise abatement operational procedures and aircraft operating restrictions.

The Balanced Approach has been incorporated into European Community legislation through Directive EC/2002/30. In the United States, the FAA adopted the Balanced Approach elements in Title 14 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Part 161 and 150.

For further information:

Download FAQ's to PDF

Useful Links

FAA website for aircraft noise levels which contains the levels for US certified and foreign aircraft.
Airports Council International (ACI) is the global trade representative of the world's airports. ACI's environmental website which focuses on reducing the impact of airports on the environment. Specific topics which the website addresses with more information are: climate change, noise, local air and water quality, sustainable development, recycling programs and community campaigns.
Boeing's environmental website which details the company's efforts to make air transport cleaner, quieter and more efficient. The website contains articles and further information on biofuels, innovation, renewable energy, air traffic efficiency and noise reduction.
The Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) established with the goal of providing clear information on the measures being taken by the industry to reduce the impact that air transport has on the environment. is working with finding solutions to the problems of aircraft noise and aircraft engine emissions.'s website offers further information on aviation, its contributions to climate change and the work being done to address this problem.
EUROCONTROL's environmental website which contains information on environmental news, management of ATM operations and environmental issues for aviation. EUROCONTROL sets forth the issues as: aircraft noise, local air quality, climate change, third party risk, environment economics and aviation and security. The website also contains the documents from which EUROCONTROL has sourced the information contained on the site.
The Federal Interagency Committee on Aviation Noise provides a forum for research on aviation noise issues. The Committee's website includes background information on aviation noise issues and also findings and reports produced by the Committee.
The Market-Based Impact Mitigation for the Environment (MIME) project is supported by the European Commission. It is focused on determining whether market based permit mechanisms could be used to improve environmental noise control in air transport.
The Federal Aviation Administration is sponsible for the safety of civil aviation. This website contains information on aircraft, airports, air traffic, data and research, licenses and certificates, regulations and policies and training and testing. Its regulations section contains information on numerous topics including: climate change, emissions, noise abatement and bio-based products.