Demand and complexity
Plenty of initiatives focus on the reduction of emissions for single flights. But there are much bigger gains available from addressing overall traffic flow. More detailed analysis of all aircraft movements and total gas emissions is needed to develop more meaningful strategies able to impact global warming.
Hence, there is a two-fold dilemma
- Higher demand automatically leads to higher emissions. In cases where demand exceeds capacity, traffic has to be rerouted laterally, or moved to less efficient flight levels (level caps), causing longer flight paths, higher fuel burn, and more gas emissions.
- Higher demand leads to increased complexity especially if vertical and horizontal flights have to be separated. Consequently capacity is reduced, leading to re-routings and level caps.
Resolving these issues calls for decisions and guidance at political level to balance conflicting priorities.