The environmental impacts of NLA

We're destroying the skies?!

British scientists are concerning that aviation pollution is a big harm to the environment, especially our blue skies, and most people would think it is quite true because of the fuel it burnt and the huge noise it made, as well as other issues that are relating to our industry, such as chemicals used for maintenance and services. However, many inside voices are heavily rejected on such accusations. The chief executive of British Airways, Willie Walsh held a conference in Ireland in 2006 to defence the airlines, he said “While it is crucial that aviation takes action on emissions, the notion that flying is a selfish, antisocial activity that single-handedly threatens planetary catastrophe bears no relation to the evidence.” Flybe’s chief commercial officer and EasyJet’s chief executive Andy Harrison have also added to Walsh’s point by denying the scientists’ discriminations.(Clark, 20051)

At the moment, aircraft pollution only takes less than 3% of the total environmental pollution, but this figure will grow rapidly in the future with the increased flights and if no anti-pollution actions been taken.

In 2007, Australia announced the introduction of traffic control changes at its airports to enhance fuel efficiency. When the planes are taxing on the ground, it would burn five times more fuel than flying in the sky, therefore, in order to cut down the fuel usage, they rescheduled the flights and shortened each plane’s ground hovering time. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum have committed to follow Australia’s step to adopt a global approach to climate change, and hopefully reduce carbon emissions generated by the aviation industry.(Gopalan, 20072)

So is that true?

Again, the British scientists reckon aircraft emission is a big factor to the air pollution, and would become a largest contributor to global warning by the year of 2050, because jet emissions could have impacts to the upper atmosphere and that’s where the global warming effect from, however, this is just their rough concept, the real causes remains unknown to them. (Stoller, 20063)

The truth is, they’re partially right. The aviation is less a factor in the global warming effect than power plants or our vehicles, but aircraft emissions are very considerable, they generate way more carbon dioxide than road vehicle on the same route. Ryanair's chief executive, Michael O'Leary suggested to the travellers that, sell your car and walk could save the earth quicker than try to limit aircraft emissions.

What to expect in 2025?

  • The number of U.S. airline passengers will reach 1.4 billion
  • Air traffic controllers are expected to handle 95 million flights by all types of aircraft
  • New airlines and big orders for new planes
  • China plans more than 40 new airports to accommodate the growth of air travellers
  • Aircraft emissions are expected to become one of the largest contributors to global warming

(Clark, 20051)


With the rapid growth of airline travels, the emission generated by the aircraft will eventually become harmful to the skies, and be considered a pollutant, BUT, it doesn't have any instant effects for now, during this almost 14 years period, the industry will sure be able to develop more advanced technologies to reduce the estimated results.

A380's new type of fuel to reduce emission

Airbus A380 flight using alternative fuel

Video embedded from YouTube on 22 September 2011

Airbus tells you what the alternative fuel is

Video embedded from YouTube on 22 September 2011

Aircraft noise

There's no need to say much, noisy environment is not only annoying and it has a huge impact on people's health, which causing them insomnia, headache, sometimes heart attacks, and all these factors is actually damaging your normal daily life. What the people said in the following video have explained everything about why aircraft noise is a pollution.
38 families moving due to plane noise

Video embedded from YouTube on 22 September 2011

Deicing fluids (ADF)

Ice removal and prevention is critical for the safe operation of aircraft, an important element in the ice formation prevention is to spray the deicing/anti-icing fluids (ADF), however, the additives in the ADF can pollute the groundwater and pose environmental issues, and there's no effective substitutes available so far.

Airport operators have focused on collecting the ADF that fall on the ground and preventing them from entering the ground. Some airports have build their own deicing facilities, these are located very close to the ends of the departure runways, and designed with drains to capture the ADF and channel them to special retaining ponds. They have made it possible to recycle the wastewater from deicing procedures, however, they can't serve all the deicing needs as some aircraft must be serviced at gates in order to prevent damage during taxiing. (Neufville & Odoni, 20035)

Joys of A380

  • The largest and quietest aircraft in the sky.
  • European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have fully welcomed Airbus to use Engine Alliance GP7200 on A380.
  • A380 is consistently meeting and often exceeding its design targets. The noise levels certified on the GP7200-powered A380 are equivalent to those already approved on the Rolls Royce Trent 900 powered A380. With an impressive 17 EPNdB (Effective Perceived Noise in Decibels) cumulative margin to the ICAO Chapter 4 noise standard, voluntarily used by Airbus instead of the mandatory Chapter 3 standard.
  • It has been one of the final milestones before certification in December.

(Newswire, 20074)

Airservices Australia has presented a noise monitoring report to compare the noise value between A380 and A747-400 at the Sydney airport, A380 represented itself as an overall winner, to see the full report, please click Monitoring Report: A380 vs B747-400 or a similar report from the LAX/Community Noise Roundtable Noise Comparison Analysis A380 vs B747, however, who's quieter? You be the judge.
Noise Comparison between B747-400 and A380-800

Video embedded from YouTube on 22 September 2011

But wait, the pilots have "complaints" to say about the quietness, "Airbus A380 jumbo is so quiet, we can't get any rest, when we are on breaks, I can hear every crying baby, snoring passenger and flushing toilet!" Yeah so we know it's really quiet, thank you.

1. The Guardian. (2006).Are aviation pollution claims a flight of fancy?UK: 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited.
2. Gopalan, A. (2007).Asia Pacific Region officials agree to curb aviation pollution.India: Medindia Health Network Pvt Ltd.
3. Stoller, G. (2006).Concern grows over pollution from jets.USA: USA Today.
4. Newswire. (2007).A380 confirmed quietest long range aircraft in the skies.Retrieved from on September 22, 2011.
5. Neufville, R. & Odoni, A. (2003).Airport systems.USA: The McGraw-Hill Companies.
Read more: Asia Pacific Region Officials Agree to Curb Aviation Pollution | MedIndia +++ Footnotes +++
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Want to know more?

ICAO: Aircraft engine emissions
GAO: Aviation and climate change
Parliament UK: Aircraft noise
Auckland Airport: Annual aircraft noise contours
Aircraft deicing
Deicing System Protects General Aviation Aircraft

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