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CORDIS - Forschungsergebnisse der EU

Assessing aViation emission Impact on local Air quality at airports: TOwards Regulation

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - AVIATOR (Assessing aViation emission Impact on local Air quality at airports: TOwards Regulation)

Berichtszeitraum: 2020-12-01 bis 2023-05-31

Aviation is the second-largest producer of transport greenhouse gases and an important source of particle emissions. As mobility demands continue to rise, all aspects of air travel require close scrutiny in order to minimise negative impacts. The EU-funded AVIATOR project ( used a variety of descriptive and quantitative tools to achieve greater sustainability in air travel by focusing attention on emissions.

AVIATOR employed a multi-level approach to assess pollutant emissions at engine exit, as well as to understand how the pollutants in exhaust plumes spread. The measurement campaigns were carried out in three different scenarios: i) The National Institute for Aerospace Technology “Esteban Terradas” (INTA) test bed, ii) on-wing measurements at Ciudad Real International Airport, and iii) ambient measurements in three international airports (Madrid, Copenhagen and Zurich). The aim was to better understand the impact of ultrafine particles (UFPs) and gaseous emissions such as sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides.

Measurements and modelling were crucial to enhancing understanding of how emissions impact the environment. Using different softwares such as LASPORT, CEDRE and CAD technology, high-fidelity modelling of exhaust dynamics allowed scientists to map the microphysical and chemical processes at work.

The achievements of AVIATOR are certain to continue beyond the time frame of the project. The datasets resulting from the various measurement campaigns in AVIATOR provide a sound base for further developments in modelling aircraft exhaust dispersion and the dynamics of ultrafine particles. Eventually, some of them may serve as a ‘gold standard’ for the validation and harmonisation of modelling.
In the current section a general description of the tasks performed in each work package is described.

WP2 & WP3

Aircraft engine testing was undertaken in both a test cell (WP2) and on-wing (WP3) to first demonstrate the performance of the Baseline system measuring in-stack when compared to the Comprehensive (regulatory) engine exit measurements and to help understand the impact of ambient conditions and fuel composition on emitted pollutants (regulated and unregulated) from large civil aviation gas turbine engines.

WP2 measurement campaign was conducted in the controlled environment of the test-cell, located at INTA (Madrid, Spain). The ‘dedicated’ test campaign was conducted 1st- 11th June 2021, specifically looking at the impact of engine power and loading on total emissions, with specific testing to assess the impact of lubrication breather oil on plume evolution of vPM. On the other hand, WP3 undertook two ‘On-wing’ test campaigns at Ciudad Real International Airport (CRIA), Spain. The first was performed from 19th – 30th July 2021, specifically looking at summer conditions on plume evolution with an assessment of the impact of sunlight performed by conducting specific testing in both the day and night. A second winter campaign was performed 16th - 28th Jan 2022 to first assess the impact of ambient conditions on plume evolution, then by utilising a 30% HEFA blended SAF the impact of fuel composition on emissions and plume evolution was assessed.


The ambient monitoring component of WP4 made measurements of the particulate and gaseous pollutants at Madrid International Airport, and a smaller subset of measurements at Copenhagen and Zurich airports. At Madrid airport, two types of measurement were carried out: i) with the Low-Cost Sensor (LCS) network deployed during 6 months in order to provide information on the spatial distribution of air pollutants in and around the airport and ii) with high-fidelity instruments in order to have accurate data for Local Air Quality (LAQ) inside this airport, as well as to validate the performance of the LCS. The measurements for Madrid airport were taken over a range of climatic conditions, with supporting of meteorological data. In Copenhagen and Zurich airports four LCSs and a sub-set of the high-fidelity system were deployed in each airport.

WP5 & WP6

WP5 and WP6 were focused on the modelling of plume microphysics, chemistry and dynamics, as well as pollutant modelling and transport in and around airports.

WP5 aims to improve the aircraft engine plume characterization and to use the in-stack, on-wing and plume measurements taken in WP2 and WP3 to validate the plume dynamics models developed. On the other hand, WP6 aims to improve the local air quality dispersion and regulatory modelling around the airport. Modelling the dispersion of aircraft engine exhaust plumes and airport emissions provides the basis for a local air quality assessment with spatially and temporally resolved concentration distributions over longer periods of time.

It is important to highlight that this project is data rich and so there is a strong incentive to disseminate the findings of the project, but it will take some further time to analyses and interpret the data obtained. A legacy outcome of AVIATOR will be through its publications and findings identifying future research needs and helping to catalyse research efforts which will assist Europe maintain its position at the forefront of knowledge. On the other hand, AVIATOR findings will continue to be disseminated within the regulatory process through the SAE E31 committee and the ICAO CAEP. Several AVIATOR experts are actively involved in SAE E31 work groups (Particle Matter (PM) subcommittee and Uncertainty team) as well as CAEP working groups (Modelling and Databases Group (MDG) and emissions technical (WG3)), including the European WG3 co-rapporteur. These linkages will ensure that AVIATOR outcomes continue to guide improvements to existing regulations and the development of future standards and corrections.
The reach and significance of AVIATOR impact is multifaceted and endured. The work programme was devised and developed to specifically meet the needs of its stakeholder community and it is envisioned that outcomes will significantly contribute to: i) developing new knowledge and understanding of aircraft emissions on air quality in and around airports; ii) supporting future regulatory developments; and iii) meeting the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

Impact of reach and significance and the innovation potential of AVIATOR will be realised over a number of years. See below progress betond the state of the art and impacts:

• System losses – AVIATOR found that different sampling regimes can lead to different values for system losses. SAE E31 is currently working on an improved methodology for system losses asking OEMs and researchers to apply the new method and assess differences to the ICAO loss correction methodology.
o Outputs from AVIATOR will be used to contribute to the work in E31.
o The AVIATOR results show that measurement of particle size distribution can be used to improve system loss calculation.
• Stack sampling vs. engine exit sampling – AVIATOR showed comparable results in the stack sampling as in the engine exit plane sampling, indicating that stack sampling could potentially be used in future certification measurements.
• CFD model CEDRE and regulatory model LASPORT with different focuses and virtues provided valuable information.
• LCS data useful to provide measurement-based concentration gradients at airports in a qualitative way and for some pollutants also quantitatively.
Measurement systems for piggyback and dedicated testing at engine test bench