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Partnership for Air Transportation Noise & Emission Reduction

News & Events

August 2006

PARTNER EDITORIAL: Reaching out to Europe

by Ian A. Waitz

PARTNER is seeking commonality and interconnectivity in research plans with appropriate international entities. Such connectivity will provide the best scientific and technical input, and foster consensus to inform policy decisions.

Our first step is reaching out to Europe. PARTNER has overlapping research interests with several European research establishments. PARTNER, the FAA, and Transport Canada have surveyed Europe's environmental research capabilities and identified as potential critical centers for collaboration the Environmentally Compatible Air Transport System Network of Excellence, EUROCONTROL and the Netherlands' National Aerospace Laboratory.


The European Commission sponsors ECATS, which focuses strictly on aviation emissions. It is composed of leading European research establishments and universities that have aeronautical and environmental expertise. ECATS' overall goals are "to create a European Virtual Institute for research of environmental compatible air transport, to develop and maintain durable means for cooperation and communication within Europe, and to strengthen Europe's excellence and influence in the international community." ECATS is a natural collaborator for PARTNER on research on aviation emissions measurements, health and atmospheric effects of aviation, and the socio-economic impacts of these effects. PARTNER and ECATS are also appropriate collaborators on education and communication endeavors. A PARTNER delegation comprising director Ian Waitz; sponsors Lourdes Maurice of the FAA and Saleem Sattar of Transport Canada; and Advisory Board member Terry Thompson of Metron Aviation, met with ECATS representatives in Paris this past November, and agreed on terms of reference and plans to initiate collaboration between the research teams.


As it is with FAA, environment is one of EUROCONTROL's key business drivers as it is becoming a critical constraint on Air Traffic Management system-wide capacity. The FAA has a history of joint environmental research with EUROCONTROL, including noise, operational procedures, and interrelationships. Expanding existing collaborations to include PARTNER activities is of great interest to both the FAA and EUROCONTROL. The PARTNER delegation met with EUROCONTROL representatives in December. Collaboration through PARTNER will become one of the items covered by the research action plan between the FAA and EUROCONTROL. EUROCONTROL representatives received invitations to attend PARTNER's March Advisory Board meeting as observers, potentially paving the way for a more formal PARTNER-EUROCONTROL arrangement.

The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Protecting the environment requires creativity, and the country's National Aerospace Laboratory (Nationaal Lucht- en Ruimtevaartlaboratorium) is a world leader in aircraft noise research. PARTNER and NLR are pursuing similar interests in noise measurements and continuous descent approach flight procedures, and each entity can leverage its investment by pursuing collaborative activities. Lourdes Maurice and Terry Thompson visited NLR in December to review research programs and discuss future collaboration. NLR and PARTNER will exchange research strategies and start crafting an outline for interconnectivity in research. As with EUROCONTROL, NLR has also been invited to observe PARTNER's March Advisory Board meeting as a first step toward a potentially more formal arramgement.

PARTNER investigators and their sponsors are enthusiastic about these first steps to grow PARTNER's international footprint. In the future, we will also be reaching out to Asia Pacific, furthering our quest to closely align with international needs and make PARTNER a truly global enterprise.

Ian A. Waitz is a Professor in the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Director of the Partnership for AiR Transportation Noise and Emissions Reduction (PARTNER). He may be reached at

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue, 37-311, Cambridge, MA 02139