SITA readies carbon footprint monitor for market


SITA, the air transport IT specialist, will in October bring to market a scaleable global solution to comply with Emissions Trading Schemes (ETS), some of which are about to enter effect.

The company`s CEO Francesco Violante says four airlines from the Middle East, the United States and Europe are testing SITA`s Aircraft Emissions Manager (AEM), which he punts as the world`s first Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) software tool to measure accurately carbon emissions from aircraft operators.


One test has been completed satisfactorily, Violante says, and three more are getting underway, as airlines finalize their plans for monitoring and reporting carbon dioxide emissions to the EU in order to meet the deadline of August 31 this year.


The Arab Air Carriers Organisation (AACO) yesterday said it would endorse and recommend the solution to its members.


Abdul Wahab Teffaha, AACO Secretary General, says his organisation is “happy to endorse” the AEM based on extensive consultations and successful testing of the solution.


“We are satisfied that the SITA solution will allow our member airlines to provide 100% accurate data on our carbon emissions to the EU so we get a fair deal under the ETS from [January 1] 2012 onwards.


“SITA is already providing our members with consultancy services to prepare their monitoring plans which means we are assured of an end-to-end service, which is also critical for the air transport industry as a whole.”


SITA – owned by the world`s airlines – created an airline Working Group on Environmental Regulation comprising 23 airlines to develop the necessary data processing and data mining capabilities which will allow the introduction of a low-cost, community solution agile enough to meet current and new demands for MRV of carbon emissions.


SITA is providing consultancy services to several airlines from around the world on how best to comply with the new EU ETS.


Violante adds that “SITA is already a trusted neutral interface between national authorities and airlines for the secure and efficient exchange of data over the world`s largest private network. We recognize that there is a need for a community approach to accurate reporting of carbon emissions and we have now developed a solution that is suitable for deployment in any region.


“The most pressing issue now is to support those airlines operating to, from and within EU member states which must submit plans for monitoring and reporting carbon dioxide emissions by August 31 in advance of a 2010 pre-compliance phase for the EU`s ETS which will include aviation from 2012.


“We are pleased to see the Arab Air Carriers Organisation taking the lead on implementation and we are confident that others will follow.”


Frederic Falise, Head of SITA`s Environment Programme which designed the Aircraft Emissions Manager, said: “One of the drivers for the SITA Working Group on Environmental Regulation was to understand how information technology systems can help airlines demonstrate their compliance, and control their environmental data, without suffering undue economic consequences.


“This has now been achieved and we have a solution that will reduce the costs of verification and also the chances of litigation between airlines and regulators by ensuring competitive fairness amongst stakeholders.”


During pilot projects in recent months, SITA has been able to verify the accuracy of the data it has extracted from the flight records of participating airlines against external records. SITA engineers have now perfected the standard software to extract the necessary data from aircraft operations for any airline to make it available for verification by governments or other regulatory authorities.


SITA is also engaged in many other areas where IT has a role to play in improving fuel efficiency and reducing carbon emissions whether it is to verify that aircraft on departure or arrival use a single engine to taxi, route optimisation, implementing green IT, reducing sky congestion through ADS-B and associated technologies, or supporting next generation aircraft.


The EU ETS requires every airline flying to, from and over Europe to file plan with a designated European government by the end of next month explaining in detail how the airline plans to monitor and report carbon dioxide emissions from January 1 next year.


Falise notes the EU has 28 members and that the regulations will apply to over 1000 airlines.


The data – kilometres flown and fuel consumed – must be reported in March 2011 and from January 1, 2012 airlines must trade carbon credits to offset their flight footprint.


Falise and Teffaha both described the EU schedule as “very aggressive” and “very challenging.” They also noted that several other countries and regions were implementing similar schemes but to dissimilar standards, an aspect that worried the air transport industry.