Extreme Temperature Diary- Wednesday December 14th, 2022/Main Topic: Airlines Plan to Ramp Up Flying Big Time This Decade

The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme, or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉

Main Topic: Airlines Plan to Ramp Up Flying Big Time This Decade

Dear Diary. I know that many climate scientists abhor flying and implore all not to fly if at all possible. As of 2022 flying by jet accounts for only 2.5% of global emissions, yet any additional carbon pollution is dangerous, thus the recommendations not to fly. I learned yesterday that airlines are planning for a big boom in flying during this decade after a brief dip due to the Covid19 pandemic, ordering hundreds of new planes. A new deal to purchase and construct aircraft the deal is the largest widebody aircraft order by a U.S. airline in history.

While more efficient than older jets, these new 787’s won’t be electric planes folks. Also, carriers are expecting many more people per year to fly than at current levels, which would negate any fuel/carbon savings from new jets.

Here is s reprint of a great World in Data article indicating how much of a carbon footprint that the flying industry has on the planet (For some fantastic statistical charts and graphs not republished, click the link below for the complete article.):

Where in the world do people have the highest CO2 emissions from flying? – Our World in Data

Where in the world do people have the highest CO2 emissions from flying?

Globally, aviation accounts for around 2.5% of CO₂ emissions. But for many, it accounts for a much larger share.

by Hannah Ritchie

November 09, 2020

Aviation accounts for around 2.5% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. But if you are someone who does fly, air travel will make up a much larger share of your personal carbon footprint.

The fact that aviation is relatively small for global emissions as a whole, but of large importance for individuals that fly is due to large inequalities in the world. Most people in the  world do not take flights. There is no global reliable figure, but often cited estimates suggest that more than 80% of the global population have never flown.1

How do emissions from aviation vary across the world? Where do people have the highest footprint from flying?

Per capita emissions from domestic flights

The first and most straightforward comparison is to look at emissions from domestic aviation – that is, flights that depart and arrive in the same country. 

This is easiest to compare because domestic aviation is counted in each country’s inventory of greenhouse gas emissions. International flights, on the other hand, are not attributed to specific countries – partly because of contention as to who should take responsibility (should it be the country of departure or arrival? What about layover flights?).

In the chart here we see the average per capita emissions from domestic flights in 2018. This data is sourced from the International Council on Clean Transportation – we then used UN population estimates to calculate per capita figures.2,3

We see large differences in emissions from domestic flights across the world. In the United States the average person emits around 386 kilograms of CO2 each year from internal flights. This is followed by Australia (267 kg); Norway (209 kg); New Zealand (174 kg); and Canada (168 kg). Compare this with  countries at the bottom of the table – many across Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe in particular emit less than one kilogram per person – just 0.8 kilograms; or 0.14 kilograms in Rwanda. For very small countries where there are no internal commercial flights, domestic emissions are of course, zero.

There are some obvious factors that explain some of these cross-country differences. Firstly, countries that are richer are more likely to have higher emissions because people can afford to fly. Second, countries that have a larger land mass may have more internal flights – and indeed we see a correlation between land area and domestic flight emissions; in small countries people are more likely to travel by other means such as car or train.  And third, countries that are more geographically-isolated – such as Australia and New Zealand – may have more internal travel.

Per capita emissions from international flights

Allocating emissions from international flights is more complex. International databases report these emissions separately as a category termed ‘bunker fuels’. The term ‘bunker fuel’ is used to describe emissions which come from international transport – either aviation or shipping.

Because they are not counted towards any particular country these emissions are also not taken into account in the goals that are set by countries in international treaties like the Kyoto protocol or the Paris Agreement.4

But if we wanted to allocate them to a particular country, how would we do it? Who do emissions from international flights belong to: the country that owns the airline; the country of departure; the country of arrival?

Let’s first take a look at how emissions would compare if we allocated them to the country of departure. This means, for example, that emissions from any flight that departs from Spain are counted towards Spain’s total. In the chart here we see international aviation emissions in per capita terms.

Some of the largest emitters per person in 2018 were Iceland (3.5 tonnes of CO2 per person); Qatar (2.5 tonnes); United Arab Emirates (2.2 tonnes); Singapore (1.7 tonnes); and Malta (992 kilograms). 

Again, we see large inequalities in emissions across the world – in many lower-income countries per capita emissions are only a few kilograms: 6 kilograms in India, 4 kilograms in Nigeria; and only 1.4 kilograms in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Per capita emissions from international flights – adjusted for tourism

The above allocation of international aviation emissions to the country of departure raises some issues. It is not an accurate reflection of the local population of countries that rely a lot on tourism, for example. Most of the departing flights from these countries are carrying visiting tourists rather than locals. 

One way to correct for this is to adjust these figures for the ratio of inbound to outbound travellers. This approach was applied in an analysis by Sola Zheng for the International Council on Clean Transportation. This attempts to distinguish between locals traveling abroad and foreign visitors traveling to that country on the same flight.5 For example, if we calculated that Spain had 50% more incoming than outgoing travellers, we would reduce its per capita footprint from flying by 50%. If the UK had 75% more outgoing travellers than incoming, we’d increase its footprint by 75%.

We have replicated this approach and  applied this adjustment to these figures by calculating the inbound:outbound tourist ratio based on flight departures and arrival data from the World Bank

How does this affect per capita emissions from international flights? The adjusted figures are shown in the chart here.

As we would expect, countries which are tourist hotspots see the largest change. Portugal’s emissions, for example, fall from 388 to just 60 kilograms per person. Portugese locals are responsible for much fewer travel emissions than outgoing tourists. Spanish emissions fall from 335 to 77 kilograms per person.

On the other hand, countries where the locals travel elsewhere see a large increase. In the UK, they almost double from 422 to 818 kilograms.

Per capita emissions from domestic and international flights

Let’s combine per capita emissions from domestic and international travel to compare the total footprint from flying.

This is shown in the interactive map [we’ve taken the adjusted international figures – you can find the  combined figures without tourism-adjustment here]. 

The global average emissions from aviation were 103 kilograms. The inequality in emissions across the world becomes clear when this is broken down by country. 

At the top of the table lies the United Arab Emirates – each person emits close to two tonnes – 1950 kg – of CO2 from flying each year. That’s 200 times the global average.  This was followed by Singapore (1173 kilograms); Iceland (1070 kg); Finland (1000 kg); and Australia (878 kilograms). 

To put this into perspective: a return flight (in economy class) from London to Dubai/United Arab Emirates would emit around one tonne of CO2.6 So the two-tonne average for the UAE is equivalent to around two return trips to London.

In many countries, most people do not fly at all. The average Indian emits just 18 kilograms from aviation – this is much, much less than even a short-haul flight which confirms that most did not take a flight.

In fact, we can compare just the aviation emissions for the top countries to the total carbon footprint of citizens elsewhere. The average UAE citizen emits 1950 kilograms of CO2 from flying. This is the same as the total CO2 footprint of the average Indian (including everything from electricity to road transport, heating and industry). Or, to take a more extreme example, 200 times the total footprint of the average Nigerien, Ugandan or Ethiopian, which have per capita emissions of around 100 kilograms. 

This again emphasises the large difference between the global average and the individual emissions of people who fly. Aviation contributes a few percent of total CO2 emissions each year – this is not insignificant, but far from being the largest sector to tackle. Yet from the perspective of the individual, flying is often one of the largest chunks of our carbon footprint. The average rich person emits tonnes of CO2 from flying each year – this is equivalent to the total carbon footprint of tens or hundreds of people in many countries of the world.

Our World in Data presents the data and research to make progress against the world’s largest problems. This blog post draws on data and research discussed in our entries on CO2 and Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Energy.


  1. There is no global database available on who in the world flies each year. Passenger information is maintained by private airlines. Therefore, deriving estimates of this exact percentage is challenging. The most-cited estimate I’ve seen on this is that around 80% of the world population have never flown. This figure seems to circle back to a quoted estimate from the Boeing CEO.

    Even in some of the world’s richest countries, a large share of the population do not fly frequently. Gallup survey data from the United States suggests that in 2015, half of the population did not take a flight. Survey data from the UK provides similar estimates: 46% had not flown in the previous year.
  2. Graver, B., Zhang, K., & Rutherford, D. (2019). CO2 emissions from commercial aviation, 2018The International Council of Clean Transportation.
  3. Note that this gives us mean per capita emissions, which  does not account for in-country inequalities in the amount of flights people take.
  4. Larsson, J., Kamb, A., Nässén, J., & Åkerman, J. (2018). Measuring greenhouse gas emissions from international air travel of a country’s residents methodological development and application for SwedenEnvironmental Impact Assessment Review72, 137-144.
  5. A country with a ratio greater than one will have more incoming travellers than outgoing locals i.e. they are more of a hotspot for tourism.
  6. We can calculate this by taking the standard CO2 conversion factors for travel, used in the UK greenhouse gas accounting framework. For a long-haul flight in economy class, around 0.079 kilograms of CO2 are emitted per passenger-kilometer. This means that you would travel around 12,600 kilometers to emit one tonne [1,000,000 / 0.079 kg = 12,626 kilometers]. Since we’re taking a return flight, the travel distance would be half of that figure: around 6300 kilometers. The direct distance from London to Dubai is around 5,500 kilometers. Depending on the flight path, it’s likely to be slightly longer than this, and in the range of 5500 to 6500 kilometers.Note that in this case we’re looking at CO2 emissions without the extra warming effects of these emissions at high altitudes. This is to allow us to compare with the ICCT figures by country presented in this article. You find additional data on how the footprint of flying is impacted by non-CO2 warming effects here.

Now here is a Washington Post article informing all of United Airline’s huge contract for new 787’s:

United Airlines inks deal with Boeing for 787 Dreamliner – The Washington Post


United Airlines inks Boeing deal for 100 jets amid industry optimism

The announcement, with an option for 100 more aircraft, is another example of how the industry has bounced back from the pandemic

Image without a caption

By Lori Aratani

Updated December 13, 2022 at 5:21 p.m. EST

Workers load baggage onto a United Airlines Boeing 787 at San Francisco International Airport. (Liz Hafalia/San Francisco Chronicle/AP)

United Airlines announced Tuesday that it will buy 100 Boeing 787 Dreamliners with an option to double the order, the latest sign of optimism for a continued rebound in international travel.

The air carrier said the deal is the largest widebody aircraft order by a U.S. airline. It’s the most recent example of a turnaround among air carriers nearly three years after the pandemic sapped travel demand and left the industry dependent on more than $50 billion in government grants and loans.

“Despite all the challenges around the world, things are hitting on all cylinders, and we feel really good about where we are and where we are headed in the years to come,” United chief executive Scott Kirby said.

United and Boeing declined to outline the cost of the deal. Jonathan Root, a senior vice president of Moody’s Investors Service, estimated the value of the order at about $16 billion, noting that United’s final cost will be determined by inflation and the mix of models it selects.

How the airline industry went from life support to record earnings in two years

After a rocky spring and early summer in which delays and cancellations drew scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators, the year has proved to be a turning point for the industry. Airlines are benefiting from hybrid work schedules and from demand for air travel hovering near pre-pandemic levels.

The Transportation Security Administration reported that it screened more than 2.5 million passengers on the Sunday after Thanksgiving — the most in a day since the pandemic began.

In October, United was among the carriers to announce record revenue during the third quarter as the industry capitalized on travel patterns fueled by flexible schedules that enable people to work remotely. Kirby said September, traditionally a slow period for air travel, was the airline’s third-strongest month in its history.

Henry Harteveldt, an aviation analyst and the president of Atmosphere Research Group, said United’s announcement marks another “stunning turn of events” for an industry that struggled to overcome the significant effects of the pandemic.

“Two and a half years ago, we didn’t know how many airlines would survive covid and what shape those survivors would be in,” he said. “And here’s United with this announcement.”

Transportation Department secures $600 million in airline refunds

The carrier is joining several other domestic airlines in expanding or upgrading their fleets while betting that travel demand will persist.

Alaska Airlines announced two months ago that it was exercising an option to buy 52 Boeing 737 Max aircraft, with an option to purchase 105 more through 2030 — the biggest Boeing aircraft order in the carrier’s 90-year history. This past summer, Delta Air Lines said it planned to buy 100 of Boeing’s 737 Max 10 planes with the option to buy 30 more. Last year, Southwest Airlines announced it would buy 100 Boeing Max 7 planes.

The United deal is also good news for Boeing, which is facing production slowdowns because of supply chain issues. Root noted that the United-Boeing agreement means two of the nation’s largest carriers have committed to operating all-Boeing widebody fleets, a designation shared by American Airlines.

Widebody aircraft are large enough to accommodate two aisles and typically are used for longer flights.

Stan Deal, the president and chief executive of Boeing’s commercial airplanes division, said in a statement that the company “is honored by United’s trust in our family of airplanes to connect people and transport cargo around the world for decades to come.”

United expects to take delivery of the jets from 2024 to 2032. The company also announced that it is exercising options to purchase 44 Boeing 737 Max aircraft for delivery from 2024 to 2026, and that it ordered 56 Max aircraft for delivery in 2027 and 2028. United expects to receive 700 narrow and widebody aircraft by the end of 2032.

For its part, the carrier is betting that despite national economic concerns, demand for air travel — particularly internationally — will remain strong.

Domestic leisure travel has fueled much of the industry’s recovery, even as business travelers haven’t returned at pre-pandemic levels. With coronavirus-related restrictions mostly gone, interest in international destinations is rebounding, helped by a strong dollar, Harteveldt said.

“United clearly believes that long-haul international flying has a very solid future at the airline,”Harteveldt said, adding that the new aircraft will give United the flexibility to offer more premium economy or fewer business-class seats, based on market demand.

Delta President Glen Hauenstein told analysts in October that travel to Europe was fueling much of the international recovery, but with more of Asia dropping restrictions, there was room to grow.

United executives said the new aircraft also offer other advantages.

“These aircraft are dramatically more fuel-efficient,” said Andrew Nocella, United’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer. “This is just revolutionary for United and the potential we have to go around the globe.”

The 787 Dreamliner is expected to replace older Boeing 767 and 777 aircraft, United executives said. By 2030, when all 767s are removed from the fleet, the carrier said it expects a 25 percent decrease in carbon emissions per seat when compared with older models.

United Airlines bets big on the return of supersonic travel

After enduring the worst of the pandemic, United executives said the order signifies a new era for the airline — one of expansion.

“What this order really signifies is that as we go forward, particularly in the year 2025 and beyond, we’re going to be turning our attention even more so toward our global route opportunities,” Nocella said.

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By Lori Aratani Lori Aratani writes about transportation issues, including how people get around — or don’t. Her beat includes airlines and airports, as well as the agencies that oversee them.  Twitter


Here are some “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks:

Here is some more global November 2022 climatology:

Here is more climate and weather news from Wednesday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.) 

Guy Walton… “The Climate Guy”

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