The return of supersonic flight. Climate and environmental challenges (Transport and Environment)

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Since the retirement of the Concorde in the early 2000’s supersonic flight has been off the agenda. Several companies have now started looking at reintroducing supersonic passenger flights. Boom SupersonicAerion and Boeing have all been testing and plan on introducing supersonic civilian flights in the coming decade.

The environmental impacts of supersonic flight compared to subsonic is manifold. The Concorde burned 22 tonnes of fuel an hour (twice that of a Boeing 747, which carries four times as many passengers).  Not only do supersonic flights emit more CO2 per kilometre but they also fly at higher altitudes where the impact of such emissions are more long lasting. On top of this, the noise effect from supersonic flight due to the sonic-boom means that many countries do not allow the aircraft to fly over cities or entire states.

If the coming decade shows the same passenger demand as the previous decade, then the introduction of such aircraft on top of the existing fleet of aircraft worldwide would lead to a signifcant increase in CO2 emissions and more long-lasting affects from such emissions.

Read the article here…

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