Evaluating Aviation Emission Inefficiencies and Reduction Challenges with Electric Flights

Junzi Sun, Xavier Olive, Daniel Delahaye

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Inefficiencies in flight operations, like deviations and non-optimal flight speed or altitude, are directly linked to flight emission inefficiencies. Quantifying these emission inefficiencies and studying potential mitigation strategies is certainly beneficial for the sustainability of the aviation industry. In this paper, we analyze emission inefficiencies in Dutch and French airspaces using flight data from 2019. The emission inefficiency analysis quantifies the excess carbon emissions for each flight by comparing its emissions with a set of optimal alternative trajectories. We find that around 19% of excess emissions existed in 2019 within the airspace of interest. We also study the potential reduction of emissions by replacing short-range flights with electric aircraft. We propose a simple electric aircraft energy model and relate that to emissions in electric generations in different countries. We find that besides the significant increase in air traffic demand caused by the limited capacities of electric flights, the emissions caused by electricity generation cannot be neglected. Significant reductions can only be achieved when emissions caused by electricity generation are low, as is the case currently in France. However, more emissions can be indirectly generated if the electricity used to power the future electric aircraft is itself produced from high emission sources, as is the case currently in the Netherlands. The paper also provides further insights and recommendations on the data sources, research approach, and future research for aviation sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event12th SESAR Innovation Days - Budapest, Hungary
Duration: 5 Dec 20228 Dec 2022
Conference number: 12


Conference12th SESAR Innovation Days
Abbreviated titleSESAR 2022

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • flight emission
  • data analysis
  • emission inefficiencies
  • trajectory optimization
  • electric flight

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