Partner of a Pilot
The Candid Diary of an Airline Pilot’s Girlfriend

My 2 Cents on the Carbon Foot Print of Aviation


2 CentsCO2 

It’s an issue that receives a great deal of media coverage at the moment. I am not going to get massively drawn into the aviation industry’s impact on the global carbon footprint debate, because

  1. My partner’s career, and our financial stability depend on this industry-along with thousands upon thousands of others, and
  2. People will not stop using air travel regardless of what I say in my blog.

However, I was dismayed by something Bf told me recently.  So much so that I feel compelled to write about it. Every day, hundreds of thousands of tonnes of aviation fuel are wasted needlessly.  Much fuel wastage is due to safety of course… It costs fuel to carry fuel; but you need to carry a contingency in case of emergency situations… This I accept.  However, some of this massive wastage is simply needless. 

Here in the UK, we generally have different airports for commercial jets and private light aircraft… Here in the UK, priority is given by air traffic control in non emergency situations to commercial jets. These decisions make absolute sense.

So imagine my surprise when Bf told me that across the water stateside, this is not the case. On his first transatlantic flight, he was held on the ground in Orlando (a major airport), whilst air traffic control prioritised a non-emergency light aircraft landing!  This thing was probably burning very little fuel. I know that when we have flown in light aeroplanes ourselves, it has cost us in the region of £45 PER HOUR in fuel.  Bf’s jet however, burnt approximately 100 Kilos of fuel in just the FIVE MINUTES they were waiting for this light aircraft to land (to put that into perspective for those who don’t do weights, I weigh 56 kilos, and 100 kilos of fuel for Bf’s airline equates to roughly £120, or $240)!!! Had he been in the air waiting, this would apparently have been more like half a tonne of fuel (that’s about £530, or $1060)!

He asked the Captain if this was normal, and the Captain informed him that it was. Light aircraft are not restricted nearly as much as they are in the tightly controlled airspace here in the UK.

Pardon me for pointing this out, but this is just criminal, both financially and environmentally… In an age where we are encouraged to switch off lights when they arent needed, turn the thermostat down by just 1 degree, and wash at 30 degrees instead of 40 in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint’… This is just needless wastage.

And if you don’t yet care about the environmental effects of this enough to worry about this; just think about the implied cost of this on ticket prices! Airlines have to factor in this kind of daily wastage to the cost of our ticket prices. Losses like these eat into the already tightly squeezed profit margins of the airlines. Bf often comments that, knowing what the on-costs of an airline are like; he wonders how airlines can remain profitable in the competitive markets today.

Calculate your own Carbon Footprint

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One Response to “My 2 Cents on the Carbon Foot Print of Aviation”

  1. […] airlines if an alternative that soesn’t rely on crude oil (fossil fuel) isn’t found. I have also written about it myself. One of my online blog friends has recently commented on it in her […]


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