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Supersonic Jets Promise Airline Innovation, But Also Pose Environmental Risks

Travelers Today       By    MJ De Castro

Updated: Jul 19, 2018 09:21 PM EDT

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The International Council on Clean Transportation has released a report which states that supersonic jets will harm the environment and worsen the effects of climate change.

Fifteen years after the last flight of the Concorde, a new fleet of around 2,000 supersonic business jets, which are in the works to provide faster travel, is facing issues concerning environmental legislation. The said planes are likely to hit the runway within the next 10 years.

About The Study

According to the US non-profit research group ICCT, the aircraft will not fulfill the regulations for fuel efficiency and pollution compared to subsonic planes. The report stated that the engines, supposed to enable faster travel time; e.g. from Los Angeles to Tokyo in just three hours, will burn five to seven times as much fuel than a normal subsonic jet engine.

The study also found out that the supersonic jets will also be greater than the global limits for aircraft carbon dioxide emissions by a staggering 70 percent and nitrogen emissions by 40 percent.

Aircraft manufacturing companies such as Boeing and Boom Technology are already making serious steps forward new supersonic commercial jets that will supply the aviation market demand left by the last Concorde when it flew its last ultra-fast transatlantic flight in 2003.

The companies are planning to modify existing plane engines instead of spending billions to make a new one.

Effects On The Environment

ICCT aviation director and study co-author Daniel Rutherford said that people should be troubled about the detrimental environmental effects that would be brought by reintroducing supersonic planes.

He added that the first step that should be undertaken is for the manufacturers to give an effort so that the aircraft could meet the existing standards, or for the policymakers to adjust the standards to accommodate the supersonic jets.

The United States already has a new standard for the supersonic aircraft. However, it is facing negative comments from European nations, which insist on strict rules on noise.

Furthermore, President Donald Trump has declared the revival of the ultra-fast planes as a manifestation of the "Great American Spirit." On the other hand, NASA has spent $247.5 million on a Lockheed Martin contract to make quieter jets that could break the sound barrier.

The ICCT also found out about the Volkswagen diesel emission that has caused a scandal. The organization warns people about the large environmental consequences that the planes will bring and suggested that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

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Air travel, jets, climate change
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