24 April, 2023

The Royal Aeronautical Society launches its Contrails and Contrail Management Briefing Paper

The Royal Aeronautical Society launched its Contrails and Contrail Management Briefing Paper at the Farnborough International Sustainable Skies World Summit last week.

The paper published by the Greener By Design specialist group aims to raise awareness of contrails, defining what they are and the impact they have on aviation’s effective radiative forcing. Currently contrails and contrail cirrus are responsible for half of aviation’s effective radiative forcing.

The implementation of contrail management systems could be achieved in a matter of years, not decades, and it is important that aviation’s stakeholders seize this opportunity now.

The paper provides recommendations for industry, regulators and government to work together to mitigate contrails using methods that can help enable the aviation industry to reach is Net Zero targets by 2050. Contrail management provides an opportunity to radically reduce aviation’s effective radiative forcing, offsetting some, if not all, of the effects of both CO2 and NOx and begin reducing aviation’s climate impact in the very near future.

RAeS CEO David Edwards said: “This Royal Aeronautical Society paper highlights the effects of contrails on the climate and demonstrates that Contrail Management is a critical area of focus in reaching our industry Net Zero targets by 2050. Whilst there is no one solution to making aviation sustainable, all areas such as Sustainable Aviation Fuel, new propulsion power sources and Airspace modernisation need to be all part of the response. The great benefit of Contrail Management is that it can be implemented in a matter of years, contributing to reducing aviation’s climate effect very quickly.

The Society is the only global organisation serving the entire aviation, aerospace, and space communities as both a learned society and a professional engineering institution. As such, the RAeS is independent, evidence-based and authoritative, relying on a body of knowledge going back more than 150 years.

The paper can be found on the Royal Aeronautical Society website: https://www.aerosociety.com/media/20657/contrails-and-contrail-management-briefing-paper.pdf