Environmental challenges of the airline industry

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Environmental challenges of the airline industry

As a result, increased fuel efficiency has been a top industry priority for many years, and the industry has made giant strides in that regard. Most important, the airlines have invested, and continue to invest, billions of dollars in new aircraft and engines that are far more efficient than the models they replace.

The Airbus A and Boeingfor example, transport twice as many revenue passenger miles per gallon of fuel than the DC-9 and earlier versions of the In addition, they emit smaller amounts of the gases of concern to scientists studying global warming and other environmental issues.

The airlines, through international aviation planning groups, participate in various working groups on aviation environmental protection. These groups are looking at many options for the reduction of aviation emissions, including operational measures and market mechanisms.

Environmental challenges of the airline industry

Aircraft Emissions Airline efforts to reduce emissions date back to the s, with the earliest efforts focused on reducing the highly visible smoke emitted from jet engines. By the late s, engine manufacturers developed cleaner-burning combustion chambers, and the dark streaks of smoke produced by the first generation of jets all but disappeared from view.

Rising fuel prices in the s led to further reductions in emissions as airlines demanded and got more fuel-efficient cleaner engines and aircraft from the manufacturers. A study by the General Accounting Office, published infound that aircraft emissions of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide declined 85 percent and 70 percent, respectively, between andas more fuel-efficient aircraft entered the fleet.

Emissions of nitrogen oxide rose slightly during the period studied, by about 12 percent, because of the higher engine temperatures required to increase fuel efficiency and reduce other emissions. Hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions result from incomplete combustion at the lower power settings used for descent, or when idling or taxiing on the ground.

NOx, on the other hand, is produced when engines are at their hottest, such as during takeoffs and, to a lesser extent, during cruise, when jet engines also produce carbon dioxide CO2 and water vapor H2O.

While the increase in nitrogen oxide is a concern, it is important to note that aircraft emit small amounts of NOx relative to other sources - about percent of total man-made NOx emissions.

Since NOx results from burning petroleum products at very high temperatures, researchers are studying ways to lower the temperature inside a jet engine during high-power operations, without jeopardizing the fuel-efficiency gains and the reductions in other emissions achieved with the hotter engines.

That is a real challenge, but several ideas appear promising, including new combustion chamber designs with features that lower peak temperatures at high power settings. Aircraft emissions of carbon dioxide - the gas some scientists believe may cause global warming - also are minuscule compared to other man-made sources of CO2.

Airlines account for less than 3 percent of total CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels such as wood, gas and oil. To cut aircraft emissions of CO2 further, airlines would have to find a way to power their aircraft without burning fossil fuels, which appears impossible at this time, or make further gains in fuel efficiency, which is where they continue to focus their efforts.

As engines become more efficient, they use less fuel and emit less carbon dioxide for every mile flown. Key to their noise-reduction efforts has been the development and introduction of new technology over the years. Through various design changes, airframe manufacturers have successfully reduced the noise created by the displacement of air as jets move through the sky at high speeds.

In addition, engine manufacturers have made great strides in reducing noise by reducing the velocity of engine exhaust. As technological breakthroughs have occurred, airlines have replaced the oldest, noisiest jets with new ones that incorporate the new, quieter technology.

The first generation of jets, such as the Boeingwere replaced during the s with quieter, Stage 2 aircraft, such as the Now, Stage 2 aircraft have been replaced with even quieter Stage 3 planes, such as the Today, only Stage 3 aircraft are flying.

InCongress adopted a plan for phasing out Stage 2 operations by Airlines responded, meeting and even exceeding, the timetable for quieting the fleet to Stage 3 standards.

Environmental challenges of the airline industry

As a result, according to FAA calculations, the number of the U. Reducing noise at its source is important, but it is not the only way to lessen the impact of jet noise on communities around airports.

Airlines, airports and the FAA are simultaneously pursuing other strategies. For example, the FAA with airline support, provides grants to airports for soundproofing homes, schools, churches and other structures near airports. In some cases, airport operators are using federal grants to buy homes outright, then selling the property for commercial redevelopment that is more compatible with the airport.

Airlines, airports and the FAA also work together to route aircraft away from residential areas as much as possible when flying near the ground.

Takeoffs and landings are routed over large bodies of water or industrial areas, for instance, if such areas are adjacent to an airport.

In some cases, pilots also are instructed to adjust their power settings on takeoff - applying maximum power, to climb quickly while flying over non-residential areas near the airport, then reducing power and noise, when passing over residential areas further away.

Of course, all such efforts can be canceled out by poor planning and zoning decisions. If airports are to peacefully co-exist with their communities, it is essential that certain types of development, particularly houses, be separated from airports.

Among the most significant steps have been: Recycling The airlines have implemented a wide array of recycling programs to reduce the amount of solid waste they send to landfills and to conserve trees and other natural resources.Industry Trends.

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3 Biggest Challenges Facing the Global Aviation Industry. Samantha Shankman, Skift He then delved into three major challenges — safety, convenience, and environmental and financial.

The environmental impact of aviation occurs because aircraft engines emit heat, noise, particulates and gases which contribute to climate change and global dimming. Airplanes emit particles and gases such as carbon dioxide (CO 2), water vapor, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, lead, and black carbon which interact among themselves and with the atmosphere.

Whether yours is a communications, life sciences, healthcare, retail, or travel and transportation enterprise, everyone in the commercial industry is facing similar, formidable business challenges.

Environmental impact of aviation - Wikipedia