Protecting Water Quality

Airlines for America (A4A), Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and Regional Airline Association (RAA) established the Voluntary Pollution Reduction Program to inform the public about and build on our industry’s ongoing efforts to reduce pollution associated with aircraft deicing.

Aircraft deicing is essential to protecting the health and welfare of our passengers.  Aircraft deicing fluids (ADF) are applied to aircraft in winter conditions to ensure they taxi and takeoff safely.

Even before the inception of the Program, our industry devoted a tremendous amount of effort and invested heavily to greatly reduce any water quality impact from ADF. As the industry’s principal trade associations, we designed the Voluntary Pollution Reduction Program to build on this success. Under the Program (which ran from September 2012 through September 2017) we documented the adoption of the array of pollution reduction technologies across the industry from 2005 through 2017, assessed the environmental benefits of those technologies and encouraged the development of new technologies. In addition, the Program Partners fulfilled their core commitment to develop a national pollution reduction goal reflecting technology adoption and report on the industry’s progress towards that goal. As outlined below, we issued four major reports during the five-year Program detailing our activities and efforts to successfully fulfill our Program commitments.

The first major step in the Program came when the Program Partners issued their Initial Report in November 2012.   That report identified a group of airports (referred to as the “Defined Set of Airports”) – and the airlines that serve them – which together represent approximately 80 percent of national ADF usage.  The Program Partners completed the second major step under the Program in March 2015, issuing the Phase I Report, which identified BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand) Management Capacity as the metric the Program Partners used to establish their pollution reduction goal and measure progress towards that goal.  The Program Partners issued the Supplement to Phase I Report, which described the methodology for quantifying BOD Management Capacity as an index value and set 20% improvement in the index value during the Program Period (2005-2017) as the Program Goal.  After completion of the Program in September of 2017, the Program Partners issued their Phase II Report (November 30, 2017), documenting the final results of the Program, most centrally that industry had exceeded its Program Goal by achieving a 36% improvement in the BOD Management Capacity Index value from 2005 through 2017.

Although our Program has now ended, the Program Partners remain committed to building on the industry’s record pf reducing environmental impacts related to aircraft deicing operations and encouraging meaningful progress into the future.

Major Program Milestones:

More detailed information and explanations can be found here: