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3 Airlines and the FAA Join Forces With Google to Assess Flight Emissions

3 Airlines and the FAA Join Forces With Google to Assess Flight Emissions

American, Lufthansa and EasyJet joining forces with the FAA, The Federal Aviation Administration, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, and Google, among others, to further develop a model which assesses and reports the impact of flight emissions on the climate.

It could eventually provide travellers and other travel-based companies with more reliable data on flight emissions. Its first quarterly meeting was conducted on Wednesday in Zurich by the advisory committee.

Among the goals discussed during the meeting, James Byers, the leader of Google Flights and Google’s travel sustainability team, mentions, assessing the climate clout of non-CO2 flight emissions, such as methane and nitrous oxide, and comparing flight emissions to other transportation modes like trains.

Byers said the three airlines on the committee were selected based on their geographic balance as well as their passions for sustainability.

One of the longer-term aims of the committee is to refine the methodology for assessing the impact of contrails, which are those clean air-dulling ice trails that sometimes can look like linear sky-writing with a pretty blue backdrop.

Daniel Rutherford, The program director of the International Council on Clean Transportation and the council itself will serve as the committee secretariat. Google will continue to manage, update and refine the technical administration of its Travel Impact Model which is a free and open source. This task will be the main focus of the advisory committee’s work.

According to the clean transportation council and Google, the advisory committee’s goals are to ensure that emissions estimates are accurate in terms of holding up against “real-world data,” and “distinguish between low and high-emitting tickets”, the system should be able to assess the full range of aviation’s impact on the environment and the climate impact of new aircraft types and fuels comprehensively, and provide uniform results for both airlines and other online booking platforms. Google Flights,, Expedia, and Skyscanner already use emissions estimates powered by Google’s Travel Impact Model through the Travalyst coalition.

According to the International Council on Clean Transportation, passengers who choose trips with lower emissions can reduce the CO2 per trip by up to 60%.

Other organizations with seats on the advisory committee include the Aviation Environment Federation, Imperial College London, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Rocky Mountain Institute.


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