aviation fuel being pumped into wing refuelling

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has released new guidelines allowing aircraft to carry less fuel. They are hoping that this will help reduce European flight emissions.

New fuel Guidelines

On March 25, the EASA published a decision that will allow air operators to reduce the amount of fuel they take on flights. Usually, the additional fuel is taken up in case of changes to the flight plan, such as delays at airports, weather issues or emergency landings. However, this extra fuel adds weight to the plane, causing it to burn more fuel which increases emissions.

The EASA argue that the extra fuel can be reduced without jeopardising safety due to “improved risk assessment, calculations based on better data, and better decision making”. The new rules could save 0.29kg of fuel per minute on short-haul flights and 2.31kg on long-haul flights. This amounts to an overall maximum fuel reduction in the magnitude of 1 million tonnes per year, which sounds like a lot, but only accounts for 1% of European flight emissions.

EUROCONTROL data on fuel consumption
Data on European flight emissions | © EUROCONTROL

The EASA are quick to point out that the savings will benefit long haul flights to a greater extent than short-haul flights. They cite a EUROCONTROL study showing that whilst long-haul flights only represent 6.2% of flights; they create 51.9% of CO2 emissions. However, EUROCONTROL list a long-haul flight as one that travels >4000km, which is greater than the entire length of Europe.


Three Schemes

The new guidelines, which will come into force on 22 October, include three different schemes. The basic fuel scheme, the fuel scheme “with variations” and the individual fuel scheme. The basic fuel scheme is mandatory but requires little additional effort from airlines. The other two schemes are voluntary and require enhanced monitoring capabilities.

The ongoing jet fuel crisis may be another influencing factor in the EASA’s latest decision. Oil scarcity has caused the price of jet fuel to rise by 75% in the last year, with 35% in the last month alone due to sanctions against Russia. With one of Europe’s major oil suppliers now embargoed and prices steadily rising, airlines will be looking to try and reduce consumption however they can

What are your thoughts on the new EASA guidelines? Let us know in the comments below!


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