Aviation Facts

One flight to and from the US could cause more pollution than the average UK motorist does in a year..

Just one return flight from London to Miami produces as much carbon dioxide (CO2) as the average British motorist does driving for a whole year. Carbon dioxide is the principal cause of climate change .

The facts are:

  • The world's 16,000 commercial jet aircraft produce more than 600 million tonnes of CO2 every year, nearly as much as all the countries of Africa put together;
  • The number of people flying will almost double in the next 15 years;
  • Tourist destinations including the Maldives could be submerged because of sea-level rises caused by climate change;
  • Airlines pay no tax on the kerosene they use and therefore do not have sufficient incentive to conserve fuel or increase passenger loadings.

Friends of the Earth wants consumers to consider holidaying nearer home, to take trains instead of short flights and to use teleconferencing to replace unessential business flights.

Simon McRae, Aviation Campaigner of Friends of the Earth said: “People may not know that flying is so polluting. Despite the damage they do, airlines, unlike other transport users, pay no tax on the fuel they use. So they have less incentive to save fuel. And passengers have no incentive to consider less polluting ways to travel”.