Select Committee on Environmental Audit Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the British Business and General Aviation Association


  BBGA is the British Business and General Aviation Association Ltd. The Association is the Trade Body representing companies operating and trading in the Business and General Aviation industry, including manufacturers, operators, maintenance organisations, repair and overhaul organisations, training organisations, aircraft and helicopter sales organisations, spares stockists and other supporting organisations including finance, insurance and publications companies.

  BBGA is active in monitoring and participating in the development of a harmonised suite of regulations to govern Business and General Aviation throughout Europe. Through its leading role within European bodies such as the European Business Aircraft Association (EBAA) and European Council of General Aviation Support (ECOGAS), BBGA is represented on all Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Working Groups, Committees and Boards relevant to Business and General Aviation. BBGA acts as the co-ordinating office for ECOGAS.

  The BBGA Strategy commits the Association to seeking ways to minimise the impact of our industry on the environment. With the environmental aspects of aviation often considered at European level, BBGA general acts in accordance with EBAA on environmental matters.


  Business and General Aviation comprises all aviation other than the military or the airlines. The vast majority aircraft are actually General Aviation (of which Business aviation is a key part). Yet this sector uses only about 3% of the fuel used world-wide for aviation. At the smaller end of the sector, the aircraft tend to use aviation versions of the internal combustion engine (either diesel or gasoline) and typically these aircraft fly at lower altitudes. Compared to other forms of transport using internal combustion engines aviations emissions are almost negligible. The aviation gasoline engines typically run on AVGAS, whereas the diesel engines generally use JET A1 fuel, as used in jet engines.

  Larger aircraft in the sector use Gas Turbine engines, either in conventional jet form or to drive a turbo-propeller. These aircraft are typically used in "business aviation".

  BBGA members only operate aircraft for business purposes. That may be flight training, it may be a corporate aircraft, it may be an air taxi (where the entire aircraft has been chartered to provide a service) or it may be aerial work (anything from air ambulance to pipe line inspection). The economic value of each General Aviation flight tends to be high.

  The jet based aircraft in the sector tend to be modern, with great importance placed on the efficiency of design. In the smaller sectors of General Aviation the developments of new engine technologies has dramatically improved efficiency. The industry is proud of its work to reduce its environmental footprint and to be part of a sustainable economy.

  However, the nature of aviation means that at the smaller end, the airframes tend to have a very long life. Engine replacement is however commonplace. A problem in the engine replacement market occurs when the regulated nature of aviation increases the costs of new products to too high a degree. For larger aircraft that fly longer distances, the improved efficiencies of modern engines soon show economic as well as environmental benefits. But small aircraft do not fly so often and this tends to push the economic payback period for engine replacement to many years.


  Aviation is one of the few industries that could not exist without use of oil. At present all aviation engines in wide use require fossil fuels. The specific needs to aviation for engines to work in extreme temperature/altitude variations and to have excellent power to weight ratios mean that revolutionary engine developments are likely to find ground based applications in the first instances.

  This does not mean that BBGA does not have ideas to promote improved emissions performance by the sector.

  For the smaller aircraft, it is ridiculous that the replacement of old engines with ones burning 20-30% less fuel is delayed by the costs of complying with aviation regulations. One BBGA member specifically tailored their business to target the home built aircraft market first rather than try to meet the costs of aviation certification. BBGA's evidence to the present enquiry by the House of Commons Transport Committee into the work of the Civil Aviation Authority showed how regulatory costs are rising to the detriment of industry development. Outside of arguments of the performance of the Civil Aviation Authority, it would surely make sense to reduce compliance costs to companies trying to bring more environmentally friendly products to the market.

  For larger aircraft, efficiency is hugely important from an economic perspective and this means the aircraft used are generally as efficient as technology today allows. The likelihood that revolutionary engines will first enter service in ground based transport means a medium term solution is required. Therefore BBGA members believe the ideal way forward out of all the options available would be another Jet A1, or AVGAS, but one which was green, which would be interchangeable with the existing fuel, and would require no changes in the Distribution system or the aircraft or their Gas Turbines or Engines.

  BBGA believes that production would be made in the same way as existing Fossil Fuel Oil is made by nature from Vegetable and Animal matter and heat, temperature and time. Local collection centres would be needed to set up, to process Biomass and Land Fill waste in a gasification process with no emissions, and then turning the resulting Syn Gas (Hydrogen and Carbon Monoxide) into Crude Oil by the Fischer Trope process, this oil in turn would be processed by the existing fractional distillation oil refineries into Jet A1, and other fuels like Petroleum, and Diesel.

  In addition to the concern regarding CO2 emissions, BBGA believes this solution offers some protection from a future shortage of Crude Oil (the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) predict a shortage of Supply over Demand commencing in 2006).

  BBGA hopes the Committee's enquiry will highlight the need for a full debate on the development of green fuels. The Business and General Aviation Sector is keen to play its role in these developments.

February 2006

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