Whereas aviation as an entire tries to return to phrases with how one can greatest decarbonize its operations, some measures can be found proper now to right away cut back greenhouse gasoline emissions from flights. Based on latest knowledge from Eurocontrol, so-called steady descent is proving to considerably decrease CO2 emissions and noise ranges at and round airports.

Operational effectivity and Air Visitors Administration (ATM) optimization is usually thought-about among the lower-hanging fruit within the quest to chop aviation’s local weather influence. Nevertheless, the place security is paramount in such a fancy system, set frameworks and customary working procedures are troublesome to shift, and totally different airports face totally different units of circumstances and challenges.


In the meantime, the continual descent method (CDA), versus the Step-down Descent Strategy (SDA), is turning into extra frequent at some airports throughout Europe. Based on the info collected by Eurocontrol, or the European Organisation for the Security of Air Navigation, as it’s formally identified, the airports the place probably the most flights achieved CDA all the way in which down from the cruising altitude additionally produce the least further CO2 throughout touchdown.

Oslo Airport has probably the most flights that land by CDA, and the least further emissions per touchdown. Photograph: Getty Photos

Larger CDA, decrease CO2

Out of the highest 25 European airports by visitors (Turkish airports should not included as a consequence of an absence of knowledge accessibility), Oslo Gardermoen Airport comes out on high, with practically 60% of flights reaching CDA. From January to August 2022, OSL noticed, on common, 22kg of further CO2 per touchdown. Stockholm (ARN), Copenhagen (CPH), and Lisbon (LIS) even have the next share of CDA, round 50%, and extra CO2 per touchdown of round 35kg.

This may be in comparison with Paris Charles de Gaulle, the place solely 2.4% of flights obtain CDA. Every touchdown throughout the identical timeframe produced, on common, 269kg of CO2. CDG and its neighboring Paris Orly (with 3.3% of flights reaching CDA) are additionally airports which have lowered their further CO2 by touchdown the least from the identical six months in 2019. In reality, at ORY, it has really elevated from 178kg to 181kg. Brussels Airport (BRU) can be doing poorly, with a 3kg improve from 124kg to 127kg.

Spectacular reductions within the UK

Greatest at school on the subject of lowering further CO2 from landings are London’s Heathrow (LHR) and Gatwick (LGW) – from 417kg to 232kg and from 256kg to 157kg, respectively. LHR sees 12.2% of flights carry out CDA from cruising altitude, and LGW 13.7%. In the meantime, at Manchester Airport (MAN), 44.1% of flights land with CDA, and the extra CO2 per touchdown is simply 59kg (down from 79kg three years prior).

The 2 largest Paris airports are among the many worst performers for CDA. Photograph: Getty Photos

With CDA, the plane descends alongside a easy and steady glidepath. This implies it stays larger above the bottom for longer in comparison with standard stepped approaches, producing much less noise – and fewer emissions. After all, there are the reason why it’s trickier to implement CDA at airports like CDG in comparison with OSL and MAN. Nevertheless, the correlation between the variety of flights reaching steady descent from cruising altitude to decrease quantities of CO2, whereas not fully stunning, reveals how vital it’s to look towards implementable operational effectivity measures.