Airplane pollution, a serious and urgent problem?

Are planes more polluting than internal combustion cars?

Fuel consumption per passenger on a fully loaded plane is comparable to that of a car, provided the latter carries at least three people! Otherwise, it consumes more than a full plane, polluting at the level of our lungs!

Search on Google “Fuel burn / seat Boeing 747”, you will find the site of Boeing which affirms: “Fuel burn / seat 6,000 nmi, kg 298” = consumption per passenger, “only” 298 kilos of fuel for 6,000 nautical miles, c is 11,500 km. BUT, TRANSPORTING FROM 300 TO 400 PASSENGERS. To travel the same distance, 11,500 km, alone by car, it takes, calculating 10 / l for 100 km, about 1,150 kilos. So, in order for a car to be no more polluting than an airplane, it must carry at least three people. See here Fuel burn/seat Boeing 747.

What’s more, planes pollute mostly at altitudes of more than 10,000 m, while cars pollute at the height of our nostrils.

Not to mention the fact that pollution of the car exhaust comes directly to our face and lungs, especially with particles. In France, a study of the Public Health Agency, published in 2016, estimates that the number of deaths due to fine particles amounts to at least 48,000 per year! The European Environment Agency estimated that in Italy in 2014, 50,550 premature deaths could be attributed to long-term exposure to PM2,5; 17,290 to NO2 and 2,900 to ozone. Total: over 70,000! How much does the exaggerated use of the combustion car cost? In degradation of quality of life, climate and planet?

Of course, the fuel consumption per passenger per kilometer is much higher for a private jet, but it also depends on the length of the flight, the altitude, the weight it carries, the number of passengers. It’s a bit like the difference between a coach and a car: the fuel consumption of the car per passenger is much higher.

The share of air transport in the pollution of the global atmosphere

Air transport is responsible for 7% of CO2 emissions on the planet, while cars and trucks account for 50 % of the total.

Admittedly, it’s something relevant. Nevertheless, the alternatives to car pollution are many: cycle, public transport, electric cars, agro-fuels, LPG, methane, the last three producing CO2 but almost zero particles and muchs toxic gases. For planes, it will be at least another three or four years before electric aircrafts arrive on the global air transport market, but only for flights not exceeding 800 km.

Consumption per km of fuel per passenger of a full plane is comparable to that of a car, provided that it carries at least three people.