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Aviation can do more to cut pollution

Published: 10th December 2007

RESEARCHERS looking at how rising air travel can be balanced with environmental concerns say part of the solution lies in more effective air traffic management.

MMU is part of a UK-wide consortium which has set up EFAS, the Environmentally Friendly Airport Air Traffic Management Systems project, which also involves BAe Systems, QinetiQ, Thales ATM and Cranfield and Loughborough Universities.

The team are identifying potential technologies and systems that will mitigate some of the environmental impacts of air transport growth.

And they suggest that management decisions at airports and air traffic control can help reduce carbon and nitrogen emissions.

Offsetting noise and pollution

Project leader Dr Paul Hooper, of MMU’s Centre for Air Transport and the Environment (CATE) says noise and pollution can be offset in landing and take-off and on runways and taxiways.

One method is continuous descent which brings aircraft in to land by gliding steadily down rather than in staggered steps that consume more fuel and create more noise.

Dr Hooper told Jane’s Airport Review: “We’re looking very much at management decisions and the response of the aviation sector to, for example, the challenge of carbon.

"The industry needs to be able to say ‘Look, we’re doing all that is reasonable to ensure that any absolute increases in carbon are as small as possible – that the benefits that aviation gives the economy come at the smallest possible penalty.”

Long frame of reference

EFAS’ key objectives are to identify candidate ATM technical solutions by early 2008 that will reduce the environmental impact of air traffic by 2030 while maintaining efficiency and safety.

EFAS is co-funded by the Technology Strategy Board, a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

The full interview with Paul Hooper about CATE's ATM projects can be read at

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