June 29 2011
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) established an environment unit on June 5 2009, primarily aimed at:
The unit also aims to provide technical guidance on issues such as fuel conservation and the reduction of emissions. With its proposed initiatives, the DGCA wishes to follow the recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), and in particular Resolution A37-19 on the Consolidated Statement of Continuing ICAO Policies and Practices Related to Environmental Protection - Climate Change.
One of the significant proposals of the environment unit has been to manage carbon emissions in the aviation sector and to develop a baseline data for carbon dioxide emissions around airports, with 2005 established as the base year for assessing various emissions mitigation techniques.
In furtherance of this initiative, the DGCA had issued Aviation Environment Circular 2/2011, dated March 25 2011. The circular sought to make it mandatory for all Indian and foreign carriers (both scheduled and non-scheduled) operating in domestic and international sectors to calculate the fuel consumption of their entire fleet (following a prescribed formula) and report the monthly consumption to the office of the DGCA with effect from April 2011.
However, the circular was ambiguous. It did not clarify whether such data had to be submitted to the DGCA in respect of all flights of a foreign carrier (ie, whether it applied to flights that departed from or arrived at any Indian airport). Further, the carrier's obligation under this circular was unfeasible to follow, due to the short timeframe provided for compliance. There was great resistance to the requirements of the circular, particularly from foreign carriers.
The DGCA consequently revised its circular on June 4 2011. The revised circular makes it mandatory for all scheduled and non-scheduled Indian carriers (operating on domestic and international routes) to submit their annual fuel consumption data for the period between 2005 and 2010 to the DGCA. All Indian carriers had to submit such data for their entire fleet by June 15 2011. The DGCA aims to review its report on carbon dioxide emissions mitigation measures based on the information submitted by the airlines.
The revised circular now exempts foreign airlines, so the pressure is on Indian carriers to compile this extensive data and shoulder the shared responsibility of climate change.
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