Government Aligns Civil Aviation Regulations with Carbon Emission Cut Goals
March 27, 2023
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has advised the authorities at the state level to ensure that carbon emission reduction measures are incorporated into the design and standards for greenfield airport development proposals, detailed project reports, and airport master plans before submitting them to the nodal ministry.
Further, the ministry has also advised the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority to consider the costs of using green energy when determining airport tariffs. The regulator sets the fees for passengers using the airports.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)
The aviation ministry said that it would not implement the voluntary leg of the program Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) introduced by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). However, it will enforce the mandatory offsetting requirement for Indian airlines by 2027.
CORSIA is designed to reduce the impact of aviation on the environment. It will be implemented in three phases, including a pilot and a voluntary phase. The mandatory phase for all ICAO member states would be in force from 2027 to 2035.
To comply with CORSIA, airlines can use SAF or buy carbon credits from ICAO-approved emissions unit programs.
To promote the use of clean fuels, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has established a Bio-Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) Program Committee to advance the Bio-ATF program in India. The committee has submitted its report for approval to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
In August 2018, SpiceJet, a private Indian airline, tested a biofuel blend mixed with ATF in a 25:75 ratio on one engine of a Bombardier Q400 aircraft.
Meanwhile, MoCA and the civil aviation regulator have conducted meetings with Indian airlines to create awareness about the impact of CORSIA during the mandatory phase and the need to prepare for it.
Airbus and Boeing aircraft can currently use up to 50% SAF and plan to enable 100% SAF capability by 2030. The World Economic Forum’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow (CST) initiative aims to accelerate the use of sustainable aviation fuels and move towards net-zero emissions in the aviation sector.
The government said that MoCA has also organized knowledge-sharing sessions to standardize the carbon accounting and reporting framework for Indian airports and raise awareness about climate change mitigation.
As part of this initiative, MoCA has advised both operational brownfield airports and upcoming greenfield airports to work towards achieving carbon neutrality and net zero emissions, including using 100% green energy.
MoCA has also recommended that these airports seek accreditation from Airports Council International (ACI) through empaneled verifiers and adopt carbon mitigation measures and carbon management plans with milestones.
The aviation industry in India has grown quickly over the past few years, which has resulted in higher carbon emissions.
In October 2022, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) in Mumbai announced that it had completely switched to green energy sources for power consumption needs, making it one of India’s 100% sustainable airports.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Civil Aviation V K Singh, informed Parliament that airports across India had taken steps to reduce their carbon footprint. These steps include substituting non-renewable energy with renewable energy sources such as solar panels, wind, and hydro, rationalizing operating times/ procedures, and using alternative fuels in ground-handling vehicles.