End passenger flights?

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Objections to the use of aircraft for travel have been raised a number of times within other threads, so I thought the topic should have its own thread so we can elaborate on the discussion without jumping all over the place.

Unless it’s as simple as the objectors having a fear of flying, which I doubt, I’m guessing that the main attack is based on the reported far higher levels of CO2 from aircraft. Of course we can’t compare one plane with one car, so surely a more reasonable comparison would be to look at “g of CO2/passenger/km”. The latest figures I can find using that measure (CO2 emissions from passenger transport) tells us that cars are 42 and aircraft 285. Bloomin eck, no question about it then. It’s surely imperative that passenger flights are brought to an end, and what better time than to do so now whilst so many planes are grounded?

But is that really fair? We live in a globalised world now so the need to travel far and wide has become every bit as essential as driving to work or to visit family in another part of the country. Businesses around the world share knowledge and expertise that help them to develop and thrive. Of course most meetings can be carried out online now, but you can’t install a pipeline or administer medication over the phone. Then there are the countries for whom tourism is their main source of funding; stop air travel and those countries collapse. Or bring it down to individual levels; populations throughout the world are multicultural - should we be stopping people flying across countries to visit their parents, siblings or children?

But again, as we’ve seen above the aircraft emissions are nearly seven times as great as from cars. There’ll be no planet left in which to travel if we don’t stop worrying so much about car emissions and instead concentrating on the massive impact caused by flying. 42 compared to 285 gCO2/passenger km is frightening. But, yet again, how realistic is that alarming figure, the one on which we seemingly base our defence of our right to use our cars as much as we wish when a few people are choosing to kill our planet by swanning off around the globe on holiday?

When we look into those EEA figures I quoted above we see that the averaging assumption used is that there are 4 passengers per car and 88 per plane. I don’t have access to the real averages, but I’m sure that the average car journey is with far less than four passengers - more like two at the most. And aircraft passenger averages are surely much higher than 88 - certainly way more than that at almost every boarding gate I’ve ever been to! Also, the data from EEA is quite old and doesn’t necessarily consider the technological evolutions that have been moving faster in aeronautics than motoring. Because of this, it should be taken with care.

Other considerations need to include things like the fact that the simple figures so far provided don’t account for the significant increases of car pollution when stuck in traffic jams. Apparently CO2 car emissions go up by 2.5 times in a traffic jam compared to normal conditions. And of course there are all the other pollutants to consider, not least being NOx. I don’t have any comparative figures but I’m pretty sure there are more particulates from cars floating around at ground level for us all to breath in than those we might inhale at 36,000 feet. And more nasties from car tyres and brakes too.

I’m not denying that planes remain a very polluting and problematic means of transport. Admittedly, air transport is extremely polluting – but so are cars. Air traffic represents less than 2-3% of the global CO2 emissions whereas road traffic accounts for around 10% of these direct emissions.

We’re told that we need to reduce our carbon footprint and I can’t argue with that (although many would.) And I have no doubt that one of the major ways to contribute to a reduction is by reducing our transportation needs. But should we be trying to justify our increasing use of cars by suggesting that other forms of transport are more to blame. I have serious doubts that we, particularly in a car-based group, are right to do so. Just like dealing with Covid-19, we all have a role to play and can’t afford to rely on a relatively few people to bring about necessary change. An inconvenient truth?
 
As you've alluded, they're are more than a few inconsistencies in the report. I only fly to go on holiday, Merc twice a year and the plane is almost always full so 350-500 passengers rather than 88, and as I drive for a living I hardly, if ever, see more than two people in cars not the four assumed. It'd be good to see some more accurate stats though.
 
I think after this pandemic air travel will change dramatically either for holidays or business.. As a consequence it will become a lot dearer to fly and less people flying. Then we won't need extra runways at Heathrow or Gatwick...
 
Shipping contributes a very significant amount of some pollutants (circa 18%) and around 2.2% of global CO2.

As for the aircraft figures, there are still a relatively high number of older less efficient aircraft in use which does slant the figures somewhat. The A350 is producing around 30% lower emissions than previous generation aircraft and although we will have the older, more polluting legacy type flying in some areas for some time there is good progress being made,

The average car occupancy is also far less than 4 so already we are looking at more comparative figures.
 
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Along with passengers on planes is a significant weight of cargo (not including passenger luggage). How is this factored into the figures?
 
Was Coronavirus delivered to these shores by car or aircraft?

What is the impact of CO2 when released so high in the atmosphere wrt to climate change?
 
Was Coronavirus delivered to these shores by car or aircraft?

What is the impact of CO2 when released so high in the atmosphere wrt to climate change?

The extent and speed to which Coronavirus was brought here was partly due to the slowness of Governments to act world wide, the vector is not relevant because it would have also travelled by ship just more slowly. Plus by the time the first case was properly diagnosed 10's of thousands of people would have travelled to many countries and no local or global reaction no matter how fast could negate that.

This may be of interest: The surprisingly complex truth about planes and climate change | Duncan Clark
 
Amazingly, in the middle of this lockdown period, 15,000 people a day are entering the UK by planes still!
From all over the world including, China the US and Italy. No checks are carried out at the airports and they simply head into the communities, full of people who are not allowed out.
 
The extent and speed to which Coronavirus was brought here was partly due to the slowness of Governments to act world wide, the vector is not relevant because it would have also travelled by ship just more slowly. Plus by the time the first case was properly diagnosed 10's of thousands of people would have travelled to many countries and no local or global reaction no matter how fast could negate that.

This may be of interest: The surprisingly complex truth about planes and climate change | Duncan Clark
An interesting report. Not least is this from the abstract: “Air travel has the highest specific impact on short-term warming, while on long-term warming car travel has an equal or higher impact per passenger-kilometer.” Meaningless in the overall equation without providing the gross amount of passenger-kms for each form of transport?
 
Was Coronavirus delivered to these shores by car or aircraft? What is the impact of CO2 when released so high in the atmosphere wrt to climate change?

Post Hijack Warning!

I have been WFH since the 19 March, everyday from about 09:30 for over an hour and again around 12:00, then 15:00, There is an Aircraft with Re-Heat capability, pokes Holes in the Sky above my house, 5 Days a Week! :wallbash:

I can't see it, I don't think it's a Typhoon (RAF Coningsby) so I suspect it may be US Airforce playing Games for no specific reason than wasting Avtur!

Rant Over:mad:
 
I don’t like flying...

Mainly because i dont want to be close proximty to those who have been on the Stella since 6:30 am in the departure bar...
 
Post Hijack Warning!

I have been WFH since the 19 March, everyday from about 09:30 for over an hour and again around 12:00, then 15:00, There is an Aircraft with Re-Heat capability, pokes Holes in the Sky above my house, 5 Days a Week! :wallbash:

I can't see it, I don't think it's a Typhoon (RAF Coningsby) so I suspect it may be US Airforce playing Games for no specific reason than wasting Avtur!

Rant Over:mad:
It might well be Google doing their satellite image recording, there's been loads over here over the last few weeks.
 
Maybe Google recording Satellites as the Aircraft is very High! and spends most of the time in a Steep Noisy Climb :wallbash:
Have a look at Flight Radar, you might see some interesting flight paths.
 
The average car occupancy is also far less than 4 so already we are looking at more comparative figures.

And you get buses trundling about with just a few occupants - and trains.

Cars vary quite a bit in terms of consumption - down to car type, journey type, driving style, and weather. But as soon as you have a second occupant the efficiency increases dramatically - and it's still substantially improved when yo add a third and fourth.

Planes can be surprisingly efficient per passenger / km. But. People tend to do longer journeys in them. So somebody flying to Aus for two weeks may well do more km in taht noe journey than they drive their car the rest of the year. Direct flights to likes of Aus shift the carbon economics - filling a plane with fuel where much of that fuel is burned to carry the rest of that fuel for the journey is not as efficient as doing the trip in several hops.

And as you say shipping contributes a whole lot - pretty much out of sight of the public. There is a also a lot of air freight.
 
Have a look at Flight Radar, you might see some interesting flight paths.
I use that app quite a bit when sitting outside, recently it's virtually deserted just a couple of commercial flights per day.
But there has been an increase in "unidentified","no information" or "private" flights ....
 
The extent and speed to which Coronavirus was brought here was partly due to the slowness of Governments to act world wide, the vector is not relevant because it would have also travelled by ship just more slowly.

So slowly as for any virus outbreak to be observed and contained within the journey with zero escape.

Plus by the time the first case was properly diagnosed 10's of thousands of people would have travelled to many countries and no local or global reaction no matter how fast could negate that.

Only if air travel was used.
 
I don’t like flying...

Mainly because i dont want to be close proximty to those who have been on the Stella since 6:30 am in the departure bar...
In that particular case, flying isn’t the problem, It’s the destination.
 
So slowly as for any virus outbreak to be observed and contained within the journey with zero escape.



Only if air travel was used.

On the whole people contracting this virus show no specific symptoms for 5 days or so. In that time one infected person could have transmitted it to many and so on etc as with the common cold.

There is always going to be a catch up phase to identify any infection as new or as known the same as with normal variant 'flu each year but we do not advocate banning travel when that appears each winter even though in some years the death toll can range from 3.5 to 5 million worldwide

As for "only if air travel was used", unsure of your point, are you promulgating a society where individuals do not fly to other countries and only essential freight is carried by aircraft?
 
So many discussions on the web concerning how life would change once Covid19 is beaten. IMO virtually nothing will change and given time we will be almost back to where we were in 2019.
 

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