A concept for multi-criteria environmental assessment of aircraft trajectories

Sigrun Matthes, Volker Grewe, Katrin Dahlmann, Christine Frömming, Emma Irvine, Ling Lim, Florian Linke, Benjamin Lührs, Bethan Owen, Keith Shine, Stavros Stromatas, Hiroshi Yamashita, Feijia Yin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
54 Downloads (Pure)


Comprehensive assessment of the environmental aspects of flight movements is of increasing interest to the aviation sector as a potential input for developing sustainable aviation strategies that consider climate impact, air quality and noise issues simultaneously. However, comprehensive assessments of all three environmental aspects do not yet exist and are in particular not yet operational practice in flight planning. The purpose of this study is to present a methodology which allows to establish a multi-criteria environmental impact assessment directly in the flight planning process. The method expands a concept developed for climate optimisation of aircraft trajectories, by representing additionally air quality and noise impacts as additional criteria or dimensions, together with climate impact of aircraft trajectory. We present the mathematical framework for environmental assessment and optimisation of aircraft trajectories. In that context we present ideas on future implementation of such advanced meteorological services into air traffic management and trajectory planning by relying on environmental change functions (ECFs). These ECFs represent environmental impact due to changes in air quality, noise and climate impact. In a case study for Europe prototype ECFs are implemented and a performance assessment of aircraft trajectories is performed for a one-day traffic sample. For a single flight fuel-optimal versus climate-optimized trajectory solution is evaluated using prototypic ECFs and identifying mitigation potential. The ultimate goal of such a concept is to make available a comprehensive assessment framework for environmental performance of aircraft operations, by providing key performance indicators on climate impact, air quality and noise, as well as a tool for environmental optimisation of aircraft trajectories. This framework would allow studying and characterising changes in traffic flows due to environmental optimisation, as well as studying trade-offs between distinct strategic measures
Original languageEnglish
Article number42
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalAerospace — Open Access Aeronautics and Astronautics Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2017
Event2nd ECATS Conference: Making aviation environmentally sustainable - Athens, Greece
Duration: 7 Nov 20169 Nov 2016
Conference number: 2

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