Understanding Aviation Emissions




Understanding Aviation Emissions


September 26, 2009, Aviation plays a key role in the economic prosperity and lifestyle Americans enjoy. Our economy benefits greatly from the ability to move people and products all over the globe - quickly and safely. Aviation contributes to our quality of life - allowing us to visit friends and relatives, to travel, to experience new places, to shrink the borders of the world.

The statistics are impressive. In 1903 the year of the Wright brothers’ first flight, earth’s population was 1.6 billion; today, over 1.6 billion people use the world’s airlines. The air transport industry provides 28 million direct, indirect, and induced jobs worldwide.


And aircraft carry about 40% of the value of all world trade, driving the “just in time” deliveries critical to productivity improvements. Air transport links our world and is a key tenet of continued economic development and security for the U.S. However, aviation also has environmental impacts – primarily noise and atmospheric emissions. While aircraft noise issues are better known, less focus has been placed on emissions. This article provides a brief overview of important issues regarding aviation emissions.
What emissions come from aviation?
What determines aviation emissions?
What have been the trends in aviation emissions?
How do aviation emissions compare to general trends in local air pollutants?
- How do aviation local emissions compare to other transportation sources?
- Can a comparison be made between aviation emissions and non-transportation sources?
- What role does aviation emissions play with regard to greenhouse gas issues?
- How do aviation’s greenhouse gas emissions compare to other transportation sources?
- How are aviation emissions regulated?
- What is being done today to reduce aviation emissions?
What steps are being taken to reduce aviation emissions in the longer-term?

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