Aircraft emit carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases. The focus here is on CO2 emissions from passenger aviation. Emissions are measured by country and on a monthly basis. Data are from Amadeus IT Group in combination with ICAO emission factors. Due to the large numbers, the unit used here is MT (million tonnes).
Aviation passenger volumes are growing annually, but carbon efficiencies are improving.
The Dashboard uses a unique approach to estimating total global passenger carbon dioxide emissions. To calculate emissions for each country, CO2 associated with all flights originating in a particular country were summed up. This includes both domestic and international trips. The logic for using ‘origin of trip’ is that it helps to attribute the emissions of a particular itinerary (including the whole trip from origin, via up to two transit points, to the destination) to a given country in a consistent way. The approach is a people-focused one (since the whole one-way journey is attributed to the country of departure); an alternative method would strictly allocate each individual take-off to the country where it occurred. The difference is that in the current Dashboard methodology, a flight from Sydney to London via Singapore will be fully counted towards Australia’s aviation emissions. In the alternative approach, the Singapore to London sector would be attributed to Singapore.
Data stem from the Amadeus booking database in combination with ICAO emission factors that are specific to each airport-airport pair. In 2016, ICAO updated their factors to take into consideration new aircraft types and more efficient technology. Amadeus data constitute a combination of actual bookings through the Amadeus platforms and modelled data to account for bookings made through other Global Distribution Systems.
- The total carbon dioxide emissions from global passenger air travel in 2016 were 549 Million tonnes; this is a decrease by 3% compared with 2015. The decrease is possibly due to changes in the emission factors.
- IATA reports that the increase in fuel consumption between 2015 and 2016 is in the order of 49%, but this includes both passenger and freight travel.
- Passenger numbers (measured by origin to destination journeys) have increased from 2.87 billion in 2015 to 3.19 billion in 2016. This represents an increase of over 11%.
- The peak of global passenger air travel emissions is in July and August due to high volumes from Northern Hemisphere holiday travel. Emissions in these two months alone were 102 Mt of carbon dioxide (19% of emissions in 2016).
- First and business class travel only comprise 5% of all passenger travel, but the related carbon dioxide emissions amount to a share of 10%.
- The average one-way journey in 2015 produced 164 kg in economy class and 317 kg of carbon dioxideemissions in premium class. Both figures are lower than in 2015, indicating some improvement in efficiency or changes in people’s travel choices.
- The average carbon intensity of passenger air travel was 0.0832 kg of carbon dioxide per revenue kilometre.
- As in 2015, the top regions in terms of aviation emissions are North America, Europe and South East Asia (including China). They contributed 27%, 25% and 21%, respectively to global passenger air travel carbon emissions.
- Per capita of population, the Pacific/Oceania region has the highest passenger aviation footprint of 566 kg of carbon dioxide per person. This is due to long distances and high travel propensity (both by domestic populations and visitors).