EUROCONTROL think papers on aviation, sustainability and rail transport

Eurocontrol recently published two think papers on aviation, sustainability and rail transport. Useful and full of interesting documentation, EBAA gladly takes this opportunity to share and promote the contents.

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On this page Sustainability

Aviation has been severely impacted by COVID. Progress in vaccination will trigger passengers’ trust in travelling again, with a significant portion through air transport. The recovery from the COVID crisis will only be possible if aviation builds its way towards sustainability. EUROCONTROL has come forward with recommendations on how to make aviation more sustainable with their Think Paper ‘Flying the perfect green flight’

Recommended measures include;

  • to further use the currently implemented continuous climb and descent operations (CCO/CDO), and Free Route Airspace (FRA),
  • to make best use of the new aircraft technologies,
  • to plan for a fleet modernisation programme,
  • to move away from using aircraft’s own auxiliary power unit (APU) but rather using a mobile GPU (ground power unit).

These are ‘quick wins’ or medium-term solutions to be implemented at every stage of a journey by all actors, airspace users, air navigation service providers, even by the passenger. This is a good baseline for the aviation community to further discuss and coordinate when common actions are required. The implementation of these measures will contribute to the modernisation of European airspace and has the potential to reduce air transport emissions by up to 11%.

This must be put into perspective in the discussion confronting air and rail. EUROCONTROL also produced a Think Paper about getting the right balance between these two means of transportation

It concludes that transportation decarbonisation is more complex than simply planning to shift to rail for travel below 1000KM, pointing out that an increased shift to rail also comes with environmental, economic and societal implications such as total lifecycle emissions, the heavy environmental impact (incl. noise) the expansion of high-speed rail infrastructure has, limitations in terms of geographical connectivity and more.

The Think Paper is useful food for thoughts for aviation stakeholders and European & local decision-makers when discussing the implementation of the Green Deal measures in the transport sector.

Need more information ?

Please contact Vanessa Rullier-Francaud at

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