Today, aviation is responsible for about 2 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s 12% of the CO2 emissions from all transportation sources. Newer airplanes use sophisticated technology to reduce fuel consumption. Which aircraft should you choose if you can have a choice?
Worldwide there are 3,759 airports. The 1,303 airlines are operating a fleet of 31,717 airplanes. 4.1 billion passengers were travelling by air in 2017.
A return flight from London to New York generates as much emissions per passenger as the heating of an average home for a whole year in the European Union.
While the other means of transportation are getting greener thanks to the battery powered electric vehicles, airplanes are too heavy to adapt this technology as of yet. This is leading to a major problem for the aviation industry. Biofuels that are too costly compared to kerosene for a widespread use and therefor their foreseeable use is unrealistic. Technological breakthroughs often take decades to be implemented in commercial use and their gain in reducing the fuel consumption is being overshadowed by the immense surge in demand for commercial flying. The increase is expected to be 700% by 2050.
About 80% of the most pollutive flights CO2-wise are flying a distance over 1,500 km’s (932 miles). At these long distances there are little to no alternatives in transportation. Few train routes offer comparable travel times as of now. One example is the Beijing connection with Hong Kong. The eye-watering 2441 km’s (1517 miles) distance is covered in under a respectable 9 hours time. Flying takes 3 hours and 40 minutes. Considering the travel time to and from the airports as well as the security, it’s about 35% times quicker than the train.