The implications of intermediate stop operations on aviation emissions and climate

F. Linke*, V Gollnick, V. Grewe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Among the various transport modes aviation's impact on climate change deserves special attention. Due to typical flight altitudes in the upper troposphere and above the effect of aircraft engine emissions like carbon dioxide, water vapour, nitrogen oxides and aerosols on radiative forcing agents is substantial. The projected duplication of aircraft movements in the next 15 years will lead to an increase of aviation's impact on climate and requires immediate mitigation options. Besides technological measures also new operational strategies arc widely discussed; one of these concepts which has been subject of several studies in the past is Intermediate Stop Operations (ISO). It is based on the idea to reduce the stage length of flights by performing one or more inter-mediate landings during a mission. Due to shorter flight distances the amount of fuel burnt over the mission can be reduced, as the amount of fuel necessary to transport a certain percentage of the fuel for a long distance can be omitted. Besides fuel cost saving implications, many previous studies anticipate a strong reduction of the environmental impact compared to direct flight operations. So far, none of them has actually quantified this impact in a realistic scenario. While for the amount of emitted species which arc produced proportional to fuel burn, a reduction is straightforward, this is not the case for other species. Moreover, the geographic location and altitude of the emissions have to be taken into account for a sound climate impact assessment. The paper presents results of the ecological analysis of the ISO concept for today's worldwide aircraft fleet, including its influence on global emissions distributions as well as the impact on climate change. A method is described that comprises of different models for a realistic traffic simulation taking into account operational constraints and ambient conditions, like e.g. wind, the calculation of engine emissions and the integration of a climate response model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-70
Number of pages9
JournalDLR Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. - Forschungsberichte
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event4th International conference on transport, atmosphere and climate - Bad Kohlgrub, Germany
Duration: 22 Jun 201525 Jun 2015
Conference number: 4


  • Climate assessment
  • Emission inventory
  • Intermediate stop operations
  • Mitigation strategies
  • Operational concept
  • Staging
  • System-wide analysis


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