FAA Releases Final Rule on Aircraft Fuel Efficiency for Emissions

The regulation requires fuel efficiency improvements in aircraft built after January 1, 2028.

New Airbus A330neo passenger plane in flight over Le Bourget Airport, France – June 21, 2019

The FAA released its final rule regarding pollution reduction for large transport aircraft flying in U.S. airspace. The agency had released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding aircraft fuel efficiency in June, 2022.

The new rule requires manufacturers to incorporate improved fuel-efficient technologies into airplanes manufactured after January 1, 2028. It also applies to subsonic jet airplanes and large turboprop and piston-engine airplanes that have not yet been certified, the FAA said.

“We are taking a large step forward to ensure the manufacture of more fuel-efficient airplanes, reduce carbon pollution, and reach our goal of net-zero emissions by 2050,” said FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker.

Among the aircraft that will be required to meet the new standards are the Boeing 777X and newly built versions of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner; the Airbus A330neo; business jets including the Cessna Citation; and turboprop transports such as the ATR 72 and Viking Air Limited Q400. The regulation does not affect airplanes currently in service. 

Civil aircraft such as those listed contribute 9 percent of domestic transportation emissions and 2 percent of total U.S. carbon pollution, according to the FAA. 

The final rule, which can be found in the Federal Register, is part of the U.S. Aviation Climate Action Plan aimed at achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from the American aviation sector by 2050.

Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot who worked as a reporter, editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal for 21 years, mostly covering the auto industry. His passion for aviation began in childhood with balsa-wood gliders his aunt would buy for him at the corner store. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonathanWelsh4

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