India: National Green Aviation Policy: India's Step Towards Emission Cuts

Last Updated: 24 September 2019
Article by Krrishan Singhania and Sarjana Pandey


Civil aviation is regarded as the backbone of the Indian transport industry. The use of air transport has facilitated trade and commerce because of its merits of moving goods and individuals in a secure and less time-consuming manner. The industry has witnessed dramatic growth in the past few decades and is expected to continue its positive growth in the coming years.

The Indian domestic aviation market is the fastest-growing domestic market in the global market at present.[i] The industry is slated to overtake its counterparts in countries such as Germany, Japan, Spain and the United Kingdom in the coming decade. In the same period, India is expected to take the third position (behind China and the United States) in the air passenger market; a big jump from its present position of seventh position in the air passenger market.[ii]

Green Aviation Policy, 2019

The Ministry of Civil Aviation in India aims to achieve the sustainable and inclusive growth of the aviation industry in the country and remedy the ecological concerns posed by the industry. It is in this regard that the Indian Government has proposed a Green Aviation Policy to create a regulatory framework to remedy the environmental issues created by the civil aviation industry by identifying key policy areas that require guiding principles and regulations.

Aim and objective

The Green Aviation Policy has been formulated with a vision to '[t]o enable, promote and strengthen all inclusive, green and sustainable growth of air transportation in India'.[iii] Its mission states that it seeks to 'provide safe and sustainable air travel to various parts of India and the world by minimizing the adverse environmental impacts of civil aviation activities'.[iv]

The policy will reiterate India's commitment to the following international legislative and regulatory frameworks:

  • International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) Vision, Mission and ambitious goals towards environmental protection;
  • United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030; and
  • India's Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – Paris Agreement Ministry of Civil Aviation's objective to achieve Sustainable Aviation as outlined in the National Civil Aviation Policy 2016.

The Green Aviation Policy aims to formulate policies with respect to environmental concerns pertaining to the environmental management system, airport master planning, green infrastructure programme, noise management, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, local air quality, energy and resource conservation, and solar and other renewable energy.

Indian aviation and emission

The Green Aviation Policy is crucial for the civil aviation industry, especially at a time when the sector is rapidly growing and is poised to take over as the third-largest air passenger market by the end of 2029.[v] The policy is a major step taken by the Indian Government to reduce the pollutant contributions by this industry. The Indian civil aviation industry contributes about one per cent of total carbon dioxide (Co2) emissions, this being considerably less than the global average. With India being the ninth-largest aviation market with more than 17 international airports, 80 domestic airports, 14 scheduled airlines, 120 non-scheduled airlines, and 122 million domestic and 47 million international passengers, there is a huge responsibility on India to draw up and implement significant regulations to keep Co2 emissions in check.[vi]

This policy will be helpful in terms of closely regulating the industry and making sure that there is a utilisation of advanced, less polluting and energy-efficient aircraft. The policy places a responsibility on the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to assess and study emissions, and evaluate their contribution to local air quality.

Effect of the policy on the aviation industry in India

The Green Aviation Policy will establish a simpler regulatory framework to accelerate the rate of project clearances for civil aviation projects, with due emphasis on environmental concerns. As part of this pro-environment policy, the DGCA will coordinate with other government bodies to make bio-jet fuels more economical. In addition, the DGCA will evaluate and study emissions from the industry, estimate the contribution of the industry to air pollution levels and oversee proper compliance as per the regulatory framework.

Another benefit of this policy is that it will provide for a faster process for obtaining clearance for aviation projects in India, such as the development of new airports and expansion of existing airports. The policy will also establish a timeline for consultation with central and state governments, the environment ministry, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), and DGCA to speed up the time frame for the creation of development activities in the aviation industry, with due regard to environmental concerns.

However, there are a few concerns regarding the Green Aviation Policy that cannot be overlooked. This policy would require the industry to implement significant capital investment in order to comply with most of the regulations. Airlines will be required to invest heavily in energy and fuel-efficient engines, airline design and other similar heavy equipment. A significant investment pressure on research and development (R&D) at the present time will severely impact the already troubled industry, which is riddled with insolvency, rising fuel prices, severe competition and reduction of profitability.

The policy, although aimed at easing the clearance process, has only resulted in adding more technical compliance with regard to environmental compliance.

In addition, the policy is orientated towards the maximum utilisation of biofuels and other alternative renewable energies. However, an important point to be noted is that such fuels are not available in commercial quantities yet. The supply chain for such fuels has not yet evolved to replace conventional energy sources. Thus, biofuels do not provide a concrete approach to reducing Co2 emissions, and as they are not viable for commercial use, they will lead to a huge financial strain on airlines.


The Green Aviation Policy is a significant step taken by the Indian Government to keep emissions by the domestic aviation industry in check. India will be seen as a role model in the fight against climate change as no other country has a dedicated Green Aviation Policy to tackle emissions by the airline industry. Most developed countries either mention green initiatives in their civil aviation policy in an insignificant manner or are silent about it.

India's Green Aviation Policy is not perfect; it will need some tweaking to reach its desired outcome. The Indian Government must constantly review the clearance system to simplify it for the industry. Unnecessary approvals from multiple boards must be removed. Airline companies must be given some tax incentives, at least for the time being, for the adoption of expensive energy-efficient equipment and aircraft. Otherwise, there will be a huge monetary pressure on the industry to invest heavily in R&D and utilise environmentally friendly measures.

The Indian Government must take the necessary steps to ensure the commercial availability of biofuels and other renewable energies for adoption. The Indian Government must promote initiatives for research into biofuels by establishing research centres.

With the adoption of these recommendations, it will be a giant step by India towards sustainable growth, and India will be regarded as a pioneer in reducing global Co2 emissions.

[The authors recognize the efforts put by Arjun Makuny from Tamil Nadu National Law University, Tiruchirapalli for the assistance]

1 White Paper on National Green Aviation Policy on National Green Aviation Policy.pdf accessed 17 July 2019.

2 IATA, India's Air Transport Sector: the Future is Bright... But Not Without its Challenges accessed 17 July 2019.

3 See n 1 above.

4 Ibid.

5 IATA, India's Air Transport Sector: the Future is Bright... But Not Without its Challenges

6 International Civil Aviation Organization, Working Paper: Environmental Protection International Aviation and Climate Change – Policy, Standardization and Implementation Support accessed 17 July 2019.

This article was originally published by the International Bar Association's Aviation Law Committee on 11 September 2019.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions