Alter flight routes to reduce climate impact by up to 10%

London – A new study by an international team of researchers states that climate impact of flights can be reduced by up to 10 per cent by altering flight paths.

Researchers from University of Reading in the UK and their colleagues in the Netherlands showed through their study that airlines could make a large positive impact on climate change by altering flight routes to avoid areas where emissions have the largest impact. Further, these changes in the flight paths would’t be major ones and it will only increase the cost of operating the flights by just one per cent.

Scientists say that action against the climate impact of flights can be taken right now through climate-friendly routing of aircrafts. Researchers say that to decrease the climate impact of aviation there is no need to bring about drastic changes in aircraft design or changes in the engines, and airports. Researchers call for targeted research in this field to make this approach of tackling climate impact a reality in just a decade.

According to latest statistics, around 5 per cent of man-made climate change is caused by global aviation, and this number is expected to rise. However, this impact could be reduced if flights were routed to avoid regions where emissions have the largest impact.

One of the key factors why this approach can help is that aviation is different from many other sectors, since its climate impact is largely caused by non-CO2 effects, such as contrails and ozone formation. This effectively means that non-CO2 effects vary regionally, and, by taking advantage of that, a reduction of aviation’s climate impact is feasible.

Researchers say their study looked at how feasible of such a routing strategy is by taking into account a representative set of weather situations for winter and summer, as well as safety issues, and optimised all trans-Atlantic air traffic on those days.