Aviation growth is soaring to an all-time high, raising the prospect of a huge increase in the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. For the first time, more than 2.5 million commercial flights will be made around the world in a single month, with 2.51 million scheduled for May, says the flight information company OAG. This beats the previous record of 2.49 million flights last August. The figure marks year-on-year global growth in flight numbers of 5 per cent, which translates as an extra 114,000 flights and 17.7 million extra passenger seats compared with May last year.
The growth rate, green campaigners said yesterday, would considerably outstrip any improvements the airlines could make in engine fuel efficiency or traffic management to bring down emissions. Aviation is the fastest-growing source of carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, and also the origin of other greenhouse gases including nitrous oxide and water vapor.