Canberra: Australian transport minister Mark Vaile has said told parliament that the aviation sector could effect practical changes in order to reduce its emission levels. In this regard he mentioned that airline departure times ought to be better managed to reduce holding patterns, and also greenhouse gas emissions in the process.
Vaile pointed out that planes forced to hold at low altitude burned four to five times as much fuel as a plane en route, and also much more than a plane holding while on the ground.
He said that Australia had already introduced flex tracks, a way for international carriers to identify routes that took advantage of weather conditions and wind velocity to reduce flying time and emissions. In this regard he mentioned that a recent flight from Melbourne to Dubai saved 10 minutes in flying time, and burned 2.7 tonnes less fuel, by identifying a better route to travel. This in turn prevented an extra 8.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions being spewed into the atmosphere.
According to an estimate by The International Air Transport Association fuel consumption is cut by average of 62 litres, and carbon dioxide by 160kg, for every minute of flying time saved. An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, set up by two United Nations bodies, has estimated that 12 per cent inefficiency exists in air-traffic management globally. This inefficiency produces an extra 73 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and costs $13.5bn.
The EU has already announced that it will tackle aviation emissions by proposing to include airlines in its carbon-trading scheme. This will force airlines to pay if they exceed their current level of emissions.