Operational Improvements to Reduce the Climate Impact of Aviation—A Comparative Study from EU Project ClimOP

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Zengerling Z. L., Dal Gesso S., Linke F., Clococeanu M., Gollnick V., Peter P., ...More

Applied Sciences (Switzerland), vol.13, no.16, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13 Issue: 16
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/app13169083
  • Journal Name: Applied Sciences (Switzerland)
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Aerospace Database, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, Applied Science & Technology Source, Communication Abstracts, INSPEC, Metadex, Directory of Open Access Journals, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: air traffic operations, CO2 equivalents, in-flight measures, non-CO2 effects, on-ground measures, stakeholder impact
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Aviation significantly contributes to anthropogenic radiative forcing with both CO (Formula presented.) and non-CO (Formula presented.) emissions. In contrast to technical advancements to mitigate the climate impact, operational measures can benefit from short implementation times and thus are expected to be of high relevance in the near future. This study evaluates the climate mitigation potential of nine operational improvements, covering both in-flight and ground operations. For this purpose, an innovative approach is presented to compare the results of measure-specific case studies, despite the wide differences in the underlying modeling assumptions and boundary conditions. To this end, a selection of KPIs is identified to estimate the impact of the studied operational improvements on both climate and the stakeholders of the air transport system. This article presents a comparative method to scale the results of the individual studies to a comparable reference, considering differences in traffic sample size as well as CO (Formula presented.) and non-CO (Formula presented.) climate effects. A quantitative comparison is performed for operational improvements belonging to the same category, i.e., trajectory-related, network-related, and ground-related measures, and a qualitative comparison is carried out among all considered operational improvements. Results show that the in-flight operational improvements are more effective in mitigating the impact on climate with respect to ground operations. However, the latter generally have a weaker impact on the aviation industry and a higher maturity level. Further research could expand this study by assessing the effects of implementation enablers, such as actions at the regulatory level, to facilitate the acceptance of the studied measures in the aviation industry.