We realise that flying, like other modes of transport, has an adverse impact on the environment. We strive to eliminate as much of that impact as possible. In the following section, read about the measures we have already taken, as well as the steps we are planning to take.
Czech Airlines Cares for the Environment
Since 2004, we have been continuously implementing a system leading to the reduction of the environmental impact of air carriage (Environmental Management System) in line with the ISO 14000 standard. Nearly all of the components of the system are already in place, and it is now running in a “test mode”. Other positive aspects of the introduction of an environmental improvement system will include operational savings and an improvement in the working conditions of our staff.
Emissions from Aviation
Aviation emissions currently account for approximately three percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the EU, but keep increasing rapidly – by 87% since 1990.
In the Czech Republic, aviation accounted for 0.7% of total CO2 emissions in 2004. Estimates say that, by 2020, emissions caused by aviation will probably be more than double today’s level. On 20 December 2006, the European Commission issued a draft amendment to Directive 2003I87/EC, with the object of including the greenhouse gas emissions from aviation into the already introduced EU scheme for trading these gases from major technological sources (EU ETS – the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme). Integration into the EU ETS scheme, presently only used by the operators of large stationary sources, should ensure a greater effectiveness of the entire market, as it will make it possible to implement emissions reduction measures in places where the costs are the lowest.
From 2011, the Directive is to apply to all domestic and international flights between airports in the EU, and from 2012 also to international flights departing from, or landing at, EU airports. It is estimated that, by 2020, CO2 emissions could be lowered by 46 percent, i.e., by 183 million tonnes.
It is not yet entirely clear in what form the final draft will be approved. Presently, it is expected that the obligation would apply to the operators of all aircraft with a maximum take-off weight in excess of 5,700 kg, except for enumerated aircraft (e.g., military). Only CO2 would be a regulated substance. The scheme would operate as a unidirectional open system – which means that aircraft operators could purchase credits from other industries (but other industries could not purchase credits from aircraft operators). To a limited extent, the purchasing of credits from projects directed to CO2 emission reduction could be permitted, under what are known as the flexible mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol.
More about the issues concerning the environmental impact of the aviation industry - enviro.aero >>
Czech Airlines’ Noise Policy
We realise that noise in the vicinity of airports is perceived as a serious problem. A solution leading to the reduction in noise levels must also meet security criteria and be economically realistic.
Generally Applied Principles for the Reduction of the Noise Caused by Aircraft Operation
- While in flight, an aircraft produces two types of noise. The most significant component is the noise generated by its engines. The aircraft’s aerodynamics are the second most significant source of noise, which is generated as the natural effect of the movement of an aircraft through air. Modern technologies used in new generation aircraft have brought a significant reduction of both noise components. Between 1993 and 2000, Czech Airlines underwent a major reconfiguration of its fleet, having gradually replaced old types of aircraft with new ones that are certified under international standards for lower noise categories. In this respect, the upgrading of our fleet is ongoing.
- Planning and zoning procedures are the responsibility of the airport manager or operator. Even if all restrictions are observed, the operation of aircraft generates noise, which requires that the vicinity of airports be subject to a specific regime. Prague Airport provides information about this on its website: Prague Airport
- Operating restrictions/bans are applied as restrictive measures preventing excessive noise caused by aircraft operation above places sensitive to noise (hospitals) or during a certain time (at night). Details about these restrictions are published in the Flight Information Handbook. These restrictions may only be breached in cases when the safety of the flight would otherwise be compromised. Information about activities in air navigation is provided by the Czech Air Navigation Services on its website: Czech Air Navigation Services
- Take-off (SID tracks) and landing (STAR tracks) procedures are of the greatest significance in influencing the noise level in the vicinity of the airport. They are created by the airport operator in association with the major aircraft operator and the provider of air navigation services. The procedures are approved by the Civil Aviation Authority. Czech Airlines participates in creating these procedures at the Prague-Ruzyně Airport. The resulting take-off and landing procedures are then published in the Flight Information Manual and are binding for pilots.
The adequacy of procedures for reducing noise pollution depends on the actual physical form of the airport and its surroundings. In all cases, the procedures are selected with the intention to protect those locales in the airport’s vicinity that may be sensitive to noise, while complying with the conditions to ensure flight safety.
Regardless of the specific features of a particular airport, the procedures for take-off and landing are based on the following general principles:
- For take-offs, the procedures differ depending on the portion of the take-off during which noise is to be reduced. This governs the application of take-off (maximum) engine output and the take-off wing configuration. When locales that are more remote from the airport are to be protected from noise, maximum output is used to quickly attain sufficient flight altitude. If the immediate vicinity is to be protected, the aircraft is accelerated faster, to allow take-off to continue with reduced output earlier.
- In order to reduce noise pollution during landing, a smooth descent is used, without changes in speed and engine output, with the aim of achieving a smooth descent with lower output and resistance, so that the landing gear could be opened up as late as possible.
- The observance of noise-reduction procedures during landing and take-off operations is being monitored. Aircraft crews always make decisions with the safety of operations in mind. There are cases when they need to diverge from a prescribed procedure, in order not to compromise the safety of the flight (e.g., conflicting traffic, storm, etc.).
Czech Airlines pilots undergo continuous training, which pays due attention to noise-level reduction procedures.
The noise level caused by aircraft operation at Prague Ruzyně Airport is regulated by the Prague Airport Corporation. Czech Airlines, as other carriers, pay noise fees for each landing at Ruzyně. Their amount is derived from the maximum flight weight of the given aircraft and its classification in a noise category, according to the noise certificate of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
The Prague Airport Corporation is responsible for noise-prevention measures in the noise-protection zone around Prague Ruzyně Airport. It uses the noise fees collected in a fund to finance those measures. Czech Airlines is the largest contributor to this fund, as it accounts for nearly one-half of the airport’s traffic. Czech Airlines pays tens of millions of crowns every year in noise fees.
Our aircraft fleet comprises primarily aircraft with the lowest noise-levels (64% in the 1st category, 36% in the 2nd category). Prague Ruzyně Airport distinguishes 5 noise categories, with the 1st one being the quietest and the 5th being the noisiest.
Waste Water Treatment
In 2006, the reconstructed neutralisation station was approved for use; this station is used to treat waste water from the galvanisation line, which should lead to a further reduction in the emissions discharged into surface water.
Important projects are planned for 2007, which should result in further significant reductions in the pollution caused by waste water. These include the completion of the renovation of oil/water separators for catering facilities, and a project for a central wastewater treatment plant in Hangar F, due to be completed in 2008.
In its long-term efforts to reduce water consumption and wastewater contamination, Czech Airlines has modified certain repair procedures and is planning to make improvements at other workplaces. Pre-treated wastewater from repair operations is channelled into the complex sewage system and is re-treated in the wastewater treatment plant operated by the Prague Airport Corporation.
The management of waste generated by the operations of Czech Airlines is carried out in accordance with the applicable legislation. The generation of individual types of waste is constantly monitored, with a view to primarily reducing the quantity of hazardous waste.
Waste sorting permits the effective re-use of sorted materials (paper, glass, thin aluminium, various plastics, metal, and wood) and is economically beneficial. Enduring efforts to increase the share of reusable waste initiated the construction of a sorting line – its launch is planned in early 2008.
Consumption of De-icing Fluid
De-icing fluid is used to eliminate and prevent ice build-up on aircraft prior to takeoff. At Czech Airlines, we use two types of de-icers for the de-icing of our aircraft. The first type is used for the actual de-icing of aircraft (it is good for dissolving snow and ice), while the second type is used to prevent aircraft from freezing (a layer attaches itself to aircraft thanks to a special structure of polymers).
The level of de-icing consumption depends primarily on the weather. In 2006, 261,525 litres of de-icer and 23,795 litres of ice build-up prevention fluid were consumed, in the de-icing of the aircraft of Czech Airlines and those of its contractual partners. Used de-icing is disposed of by Prague Airport. In 2006, only non-dyed de-icing fluid was used. In the future, in line with trends in air transport, we are considering using dyed de-icing; this will reduce consumption because it will be applied more precisely to aircraft.
Old Environmental Hazards
In 2006, in the wake of negotiations with the Czech Environmental Inspectorate, Czech Airlines and Prague Airport decided to clean up an old environmental hazard in the vicinity of Hangar F, which was caused in the past by a leaky underground tank. In the 1970s, this tank was used to store chlorinated hydrocarbons and oil products. The cleanup work lasted from June 2006 to the end of 2006 and used the extraction of contaminated soil gas (i.e., the venting method) with subsequent incineration in a catalytic oxidation facility. The results of the latest analyses of samples indicate that, compared to the situation in August 2006, there has been a significant reduction in the concentration of pollutants in the groundwater and soil gas. On completion of the cleanup work, a risk analysis was conducted, which will be used as a basis for the planning of further steps.