Environmental Impact of Aviation­ – Green House Gases Emission 

green house gases-aircraft

Aircraft has been carrying hundreds of thousands of pounds of people,baggage thousands of miles at high speed by consuming large amount of fossil fuels. In the process, airlines emits massive quantity of dangerous pollutants in the environment regularly. A fully laden A380, according to its’ engine maker Rolls Royce, uses as much energy as 3,500 family cars, equivalent to six cars for each passenger. Long haul flights on average produce twice as much emission per mile per passenger than cars and short haul flights produce three times as much. It has been found that you are more likely to die from exposure to airplane exhaust than from airplane crash.

Heat, noise, and particulates from aircraft have contributed in the environment pollution and in today’s burning issue of climate change. Aircraft emits particulates such as carbon dioxide, water vapor, hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, sulfur oxide and many other have been degrading the environment day by day. It is assumed that airline industry contributes about 3.5% of the world’s scale in term of pollution. Unlike automobile industries, new technologies for limiting emission are hard to find in an aviation industry.

The substance used to de-­icing aircraft includes ethylene and propylene. These substances are dangerous to environment and most of the airports do not offer methods to recycle it. This is just an example and there are many other factors which have high impact to environment. Though research has been ongoing for the development of new technology but their application has been rare due to financial concern.

Globally about 8.3 million people fly daily and the numbers are increasing rapidly. Due to rapid growth of air travel, emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) has been increased. Research has shown that from 1992 to 2005, passenger kilometer increased by 5.2% per year. In European Union(EU) GHGs emissions from aviation increased by 87% from 1990 to 2006.

Analysts expect the global aviation industry to grow by 5% every year for the next two decades. At this rate, the size of the industry will double in 15 years and triple in 23. Scientists expect aviation carbon dioxide emissions to double by 2030, bringing with them more toxic pollution. Airplanes have become more efficient and less polluting over time. But these small gains have and will continue to be overwhelmed by the gross inefficiency of the activity and the rapid growth of the industry. Being a globally growing industry, everyone in this industry should show their concern in decreasing emissions. Big airline company should pay attention towards development of efficient and less emission aircraft as per the need of time.

Credit: Kiran Pandey

Undergraduate Student (Mechanical Engineering)

IOE, Pulchowk


Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *