U.S. Passenger Jets under ICAO’s CO2 Standard, 2018-2038

Published: 2018.10.02

Brandon Graver, Dan Rutherford

In 2016, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) finalized a performance standard that will mandate reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) intensity from new aircraft. The standard will be enforced for all new aircraft starting in 2028. Previous ICCT work has shown that the average newly-delivered single and twin-aisle commercial aircraft already complies with the ICAO CO2 standard. Therefore, the standard is not expected to require manufacturers to further improve their aircraft when it is fully implemented. 

Seven mainline carriers and all regional carriers, accounting for 82% of 2017 aviation demand from U.S. airlines, would already meet the CO2 standard by 2028. Two additional airlines, representing 17% of current demand, would be able to comply via modest (less than 2%) additional fuel efficiency improvements. Only Allegiant, a carrier specializing in the use of older aircraft on minor routes, would require larger efficiency improvements to meet the 2028 standard. Therefore, it is feasible that the U.S. could apply the standard to both new and in-service aircraft starting in 2028, with periodic tightening, as a means to promote additional fuel efficiency improvements from airlines.

average margin to ICAO CO2 standard over time per airline