FAA Proposes Rule To Require More Efficient Jets And Turboprops


The FAA has proposed a rule designed to reduce greenhouse gasses emitted by large aircraft flying in U.S. airspace by requiring the aircraft to be more fuel efficient. The rule would apply to new subsonic jet and large turboprop and propeller aircraft models that are not yet certified or are manufactured after Jan. 1, 2028. The proposed rule would not affect aircraft already in service.

“Examples of commercial aircraft that will be required to meet the proposed standards include the upcoming Boeing 777-X and future versions of the 787 Dreamliner; the Airbus A330-neo; business jets such as the Cessna Citation; and civil turboprop airplanes such as the ATR 72 and the Viking Limited Q400,” the FAA said. “Civil aircraft such as these were responsible for 10 percent of domestic transportation emissions and three percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions prior to the pandemic.”

According to the FAA, the proposed emission standard uses “a metric that equates fuel efficiency and consumption with reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2)” and accommodates measures for increasing fuel efficiency such as aerodynamic improvements, more efficient engines and reductions to an aircraft’s empty mass before loading. The FAA noted that proposed rule is designed to align with aircraft CO2 emission standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and will ensure that U.S. manufactured airplanes and airplane engines are accepted worldwide. The rule can be viewed in the Federal Register and is open for comments until Aug. 15, 2022.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. My son is a captain in the UK flying the Boeing 737/800. He recently came up with the following information regarding fuel burn: Glasgow to Turkey with 180 passengers plus crew cruising at around 500 mph gave 134.5 miles per imperial gallon per passenger.
    Food for thought. He usually announces the mpg/pax to his passengers.

    • Now there is a figure of merit worthy of note, John. Imagine if it were somehow possible to drive that very same route in a car at — say — 1/10 the speed and with 4 people aboard multiplied by the number of cars needed to move them all. Suddenly, those “horrible” polluting airliners don’t seem so bad. But … hey … the FAA waves their magic ‘twanger,’ (froggie) [only the oldies will know what I just said] and suddenly the airliners are more efficient. I wonder if the SCOTUS ruling against the EPA likewise applies to the FAA unilaterally making up rules w/o congressional vote?

      • “I wonder if the SCOTUS ruling against the EPA likewise applies to the FAA unilaterally making up rules w/o congressional vote?”

        Let’s hope so.

      • Problem is aviation is high profile, many voters do not fly including because of cost.

        Companies like ZeroAvia are peddling the 2.0C _assumption_ which even the infamous Phil Jones of CRU leak infamy admits is nothing but an arbitrary assumption by someone.

        Eco-activists are like that – pulling notions out of thin air, evading that in over half a century of Chicken Little behaviour none of their dire predictions has come true. Nil, nada, zip – None. But like religious doomsday preachers they try to slide the date of doom.

  2. Possibly, as a fuel saving measure, the FAA could implement better routing instead of adding hundreds of miles to typical routes. Furthermore, slower aircraft are only more efficient on paper. Typical cruise altitude headwinds extract a huge efficiency and time penalty on turboprops. I suggest mixing in SAF’s to reduce resource consumption.

  3. Can someone tell me where in the FAA charter it says anything about making rules about greenhouse gases or anything else concerning the environment? I thought the FAA was supposed to promote aviation and insure the safety in the world of aviation. We don’t need anymore climate czars.

    • I don’t want to get deep into politics here, but it occurs to me that all the Cabinet-level three-letter agencies are unconstitutional, if for no reason other than Separation of Powers. They make the rules (legislative), judge rule-breakers in their own courts (judicial), then prescribe and carry out punishment (executive). Forcing Congress to do its job and pass all the rules personally just might slow their progressive choke-hold on American liberties. Just a thought …

      • “all the Cabinet-level three-letter agencies are unconstitutional”

        BINGO! Almost no one cares about the enumerated powers and limited government anymore. It will be miraculous if this country survives much longer under the incredible weight of the federal government.

    • Actually, I believe the part of the FAA authorization concerning promoting Aviation was removed a while back. I took a glance through the provisions of the HR302 which includes the FAA Reauthorization act. There is a bit about promoting supersonic travel, UAV’s, promoting US regulations to foreign entities, and a little on Youth initiatives and women in aviation but nothing about promoting aviation. BTW, this reauthorization expires next year. So, congress can always add climate initiatives to the next one.
      The only problem I see with that is that the FAA (at the request of congress) has made certification of anything with new technology harder and more expensive. Add to that the lack of qualified folks at ACO to (not that there aren’t good folks, there aren’t many of them) do certification makes real progress on worthwhile initiatives nearly impossible. Put another way, the entrenched leaders in any particular area have an unfair advantage compared to start ups.

      • We need to get Sen Inhofe to stick around so he could ‘stick’ it to them again … I can think of a few things we could use in any new authorization legislation.

  4. How in the world is this the purview of the FAA? Congress should be responsible and accountable for making laws that have massive financial effect on US industry, not unelected officials in a bureaucracy. Where is the peer reviewed study? Where is the debate? This is exactly what SCOTUS ruled against this term with respect to EPA.

    • Eco-goons worm their way into everything, and bureaucrats respond to political pressure.

      And I note that many people who work for government are collectivist minded, perhaps less so in FAA because safety regulation has more connection to reality than most government functions.

  5. Hey FAA…SCOTUS just ruled that agencies DO NOT have the power to regulate emissions. Your climate change and Green policies are about to go in the ash heap of history, hopefully!

    • SCOTUS’ ruling is an excellent step, but may not be as broad as you say.

      Seems to be that at some degree of change and objection EPA does not have authority to do something without approval of Congress.

  6. Aren’t engine manufacturers already doing this as fuel is one of the biggest operating expenses an airline can have?

  7. Regarding the “Promote Aviation” mandate–that was eliminated in 1996–more than a quarter century ago!

    From PBS 1996
    A change in the FAA’s mandate?

    President Clinton signs the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 1996. Following public outcry over the ValuJet Flight 592 crash, lawmakers approve changes to the FAA’s mission that appear to remove the agency’s dual mandate of regulating safety and promoting industry development.

    Only a believer that government can better control the marketplace than Capitalism would believe that government mandates are effective in a world-wide market. This proposal would kill the market for American-made new aircraft–and cause users to continue to use older and LESS fuel-efficient aircraft–making any perceived problem WORSE–not better.

    Manufacturers have to produce a product that people WANT to buy–not are FORCED to buy. Is it any wonder why so many manufacturers have fled the U.S.?

    This kind of “mandate” reminds me of Milo Minderbinder (“Catch-22”) who wanted to issue a decree that people should eat cotton (“Milo–people can’t eat cotton!”–reply “It’s for their own good, and for M&M Enterprises–and that’s good for the nation!”

    • The article says it’s for “large aircraft flying in U.S. airspace”, which would include aircraft manufactured outside the US.

  8. Its incredible how efficient and productive things are relying on competition for efficiency .Possiblay that efficiency and maybe over production is the reason regulatory organizations in different countries are seeing an opportunity to establish themselves as a ruling elite over the buisness and productive sector

  9. Just standard greenwashing. FAA has no way to know how much improvement is possible so to set a standard they have to go to industry for the information.

    On top of that, eking out a few extra percent of efficiency is a top priority with all the big iron manufacturers anyway, no government prodding needed. So, industry does the deed, FAA/government takes the credit, life goes on.

  10. All this does is bring the US in alignment with ICAO standards which the US is a signatory to. The aircraft industry and airlines participated in developing the ICAO standards. This is a nothing burger.

  11. How many times in the last few years has Avweb published articles about aircraft and engine manufacturers announcing a new product that is more aerodynamic and fuel efficient? Answer; A lot! Fuel is the largest operating expense item for airlines and charter operations, so the free market and competition dictates that such an edict from government is a waste of time. Manufacturers are already doing this. The FAA would be better served in working to streamline air traffic control and airport operations to reduce congestion and delays on the ground, as well as better routing and flow control in the air. This is just the FAA’s way to dump responsibility for lowering emissions onto the manufacturers and users instead of trying to clean up the ATC mess.

  12. John W. and John Mc. have it exactly right–the FAA can’t set a standard without having the technical expertise first.

    If fuel efficiency WAS possible–don’t you think that the industry would cash in on this knowledge–selling new airframes and engines?

    Instead, the government is proposing to “help” us (kind of like the government-owned Russian airframe manufacturers “help” that industry!) (laugh)

    Another example of government “group-think”. In the Army, the standard joke about substandard equipment was “A Camel is a Horse designed by Committee!”

    • I call it the “Peacetime Ennui”–“a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.”

      We have become Europe because we have lost a sense of purpose. In wartime, most of the “feel-good” regulations are suspended in order to get the job done to fix REAL problems.

      During times of relative prosperity, we MANUFACTURE perceived “problems”.

      Today, we have lost our sense of direction–who we want to be. Think about it–each generation has had its own focus–winning WW II–beating back communism in Korea–the Space Race”–Vietnam.

      Since then, we have focused on relatively minor problems–trying to characterize them as the equal of major problems defeated by prior generations. Factions have trumpeted warnings about “the coming ice age!”–“rising sea levels!”–“global warming!”–“Ebola!”–“Ozone Holes!”–Covid!”

      ALL predicted to wipe out civilization–and none of which were as serious as claimed. The country needs something BIG and DIFFICULT to reunite us–or we will continue to BECOME like Europe–small countries (states) all with their own petty agendas.

      It has been said “The Devil finds work for idle hands.” I believe that is true today–we fret and fight about the tiniest perceived “problems”–much like Europe.

      • Purpose should be protection of individuals against initiation of force, which is the one thing that stops human life. Because it blocks use of our means of survival – our mind that decides on actions needed to live.

        ‘Europe’ (‘Western’) failed to do that this century, evading the nature of Putin – whose nature was identified by speeches fifteen years ago and by Angela Merkel yet she kept dealing with him to pander to Green Party so she could say in power. A more subtle version of Neville Chamerlain.