€5m global study to probe aviation emissions

A €5m global study will explore how aviation emissions impact on air quality.

Scientists will collect and analyse ambient measurements of air quality at Madrid–Barajas Airport in Spain, Zurich Airport in Switzerland and Kastrup Copenhagen Airport in Denmark, three climatically different airports, to study the differences between emissions measured under test conditions and from real airport scenarios.

The team will build a sensor network to measure air quality within and around the airports, and hope the data will help airports better understand how to improve air quality.

They say their investigations will also focus on the potential of alternative sustainable jet fuel to reduce emissions of pollutants.

The AVIATOR project is being funded by the EU and the Canadian government and will include contributions from academics at Manchester Met University and the University of Cardiff.

David Raper, Professor of Environmental Science and the principal investigator from Manchester Metropolitan University, said: ‘AVIATOR is a holistic approach and builds on previous studies.

‘However, where it differs from previous work is that it is employing a systematic approach which encompasses test cell, on-wing, ambient measurements and detailed modelling to better characterise aircraft emissions and their impact on air quality.

‘Our objective is to provide policy makers, regulators, industry and the public with a comprehensive understanding of the impact that aircraft have on air quality in and around airports.’

Earlier this month, Heathrow Airport published its annual sustainability document, setting out its carbon neutral ambitions, with much of the focus on reducing emissions through offsetting.

Airlines have been slow to move towards low-emission technology or clean fuels, and currently, all flights in and out of UK airports from the EU pay no tax on jet fuel, which campaigners say is blocking innovation in the market.

A leaked European Commission report claimed that an aviation tax would slash emissions by 11% (16.4 million tonnes of CO2) a year.

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