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Saving Fuel and Pollution at Airports

Both fuel programs and solid waste recycling are contributing to improved emissions impact.

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Airports are increasingly looking at ways to reduce emissions and lower operating costs. Both fuel programs and solid waste recycling are contributing to improved emissions impact.

Opportunities for savings are great because of options for central refueling, great volumes of fuel use and financial incentives. Ground service vehicles, taxis, shuttles, buses and cargo all provide opportunities for the use of cleaner burning and less expensive alternative fuels. California's fleet regulations have helped reduce emissions by these shuttle fleets, and the campaign to find further solutions continues.

Airplanes are the most visible segment of transportation vehicles at airports, and they are a major contributor, but they aren't the complete story.

Non-stop Bus Shuttles

Non-stop LAX FlyAway bus services between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and several Los Angeles communities offers travelers a convenient, comfortable and reasonably-priced alternative to driving to the airport. Westwood, Van Nuys and Union Station locations have been established. Airport officials believe the Westwood site offers the potential to serve 167,000 passengers in its first year. LAWA’s ground transportation initiative is working to expand its FlyAway bus system to improve passenger convenience, and to reduce traffic congestion and vehicle emissions by encouraging high-occupancy vehicle ridership. Westwood is the third site in a plan to have a total of nine LAX FlyAway locations throughout Southern California by 2015.

Further information on all LAX FlyAway routes is available by calling 1-866-I Fly LAX (1-866-435-9529) or by visiting

Solid Waste Recycling from Passenger Services

In 2004 LAX saved enough energy to power 502 households and reduced greenhouses gas emissions by an amount equal to removing 2,228 passenger cars from the road for a year. Their report noted that LAX experienced 29 million passenger departures during 2004, the year in which the study was conducted. Total waste generated by these passengers amounted to 19,000 tons, or approximately 1.313 pounds of waste per passenger.

LAX recycled 12 tons of aluminum, more than 2,021 tons of or cardboard, 89 tons of newspapers and 527 tons of office paper. It also recycled 17 tons of glass products, 9 tons of plastic beverage containers, 913 tons of plastic film and 271 tons of food waste.

Recommendations for implementing and improving airport recycling programs range from giving priority to buying products made from recycled materials to designing new terminal space with recycling in mind.

Airplane Technologies and Green Innovation

Boeing, Airbus, and airlines that fly their jets are touting green technology at the Paris Air Show and pledging to spew less pollution.

Worldwide air travel is outpacing industry progress in reducing aircraft emissions. And it was chiefly high fuel costs and fear of government-regulated emissions cuts — not concerns about global warming — that inspired the airline sector's efforts to reduce pollution.

Boeing recently created an office of environment management, and claims that its 787 Dreamliner is the most environmental advanced. Airbus says its A380 superjumbo is cleaner per mile traveled and per passenger. Who's right? It might not matter much when you look at the number of additional travel miles they are encouraging.

Environmental groups say the only solution is to fly less — an alternative no one seems to want to discuss.

Industry trade groups report that air travel is growing at about 7 percent each year, but airplane technological developments are improving fuel efficiency by about 1 to 2 percent a year.

The aviation sector is responsible for about 4 percent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions, according to European Commission studies, though other estimates vary.

Aviation analysts at Brussels-based watchdog Transport and Environment, predicted that airline emissions would double in the coming 20 years even as other industries' emissions shrink.

The aviation analysts OAG say the May total for global flights was 2.51 million, the first time the 2.5m barrier has been broken. The largest rises compared with May 2006 came from domestic flights in India and China, with rises of 25% and 18%. Domestic flights in Great Britain rose by almost as many in number, but only by 2% of the British total.

Los Angeles International

Steve Udvar-Hazy, chief executive of Los Angeles-based International Lease Finance Corp., the world's largest airline leasing company, predicts that market forces and regulation will drive us to more fuel efficiencies that can be provided only by the best technologies possible.

Stop the idling...

European and American officials agreed this week to improve air traffic control to avoid waste that comes from circling or sharp or circuitous descents.


EU and the aeronautics industry are launching a plan aimed at slashing aviation emissions and noise by about half by 2015 that focuses on new wing design, cleaner engines, innovative rotor blades, more efficient flight paths and use of renewable and recycled materials.

NOTE: LAX is one of four airports owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports, a City of Los Angeles department. The others are LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT), LA/Palmdale Regional Airport and Van Nuys Airport (VNY).

Edited by Carolyn Allen
| airport | transportation savings | transportation |


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