This methodology represents greenhouse gas emissions associated with typical domestic, short- and long-haul passenger flights. The data and calculation methodology originates from the UK government department DEFRA, as published in their most recent greenhouse gas (GHG) conversion factors documentation.
The emissions methodology is based upon emissions factors which describe the rate at which various types of passenger flight emit greenhouse gases in relation to distance travelled. Emissions are calculated by simply multiplying these rates by the typical distances of domestic, short-haul and long-haul flights. The emissions associated with multiple passengers and/or multiple journeys can be obtained by simply multiplying by the appropriate number of passengers and journeys respectively.
A total of 9 passenger flight scenarios are represented, differentiated by distance categorization (i.e. 'domestic', 'short-haul', 'long haul') and passenger class (e.g. 'economy' versus 'first class'). Each scenario is represented by an illustrative distance which represents the typical flight distance for the associated distance categorization, as well as the following per passenger emissions factors (expressed in terms of kg CO2e per km), referenced from the an associated DEFRA methodology.
Each passenger transport type is represented by six distinct emissions factors which differentiate greenhouse gas emissions into the following types:
- direct CO2 emissions: carbon dioxide emissions produced during travel, i.e. fuel combustion
- direct CH4 emissions: methane emissions produced during travel, i.e. fuel combustion
- direct N2O emissions: nitrous oxide emissions produced during travel, i.e. fuel combustion
- total direct emissions: all direct emissions, i.e. CO2 + CH4 + N2O
- indirect emissions: emissions associated with stages in the fuel production chain such as raw material extraction and fuel delivery
- total or 'life cycle': the total of direct and indirect emissions
Activity data required
Calculations are based on the assumed typical distance for the flight type under consideration and the corresponding emissions factors for the flight type and passenger class. If multiple passengers and/or journeys are under consideration, these can be optionally incorporated.
Calculation and result
The following quantities are calculated on the basis of the typical flight distance and associated emissions factors: CO2, CH4, N2O, total direct CO2e, indirect CO2e, full life cycle CO2e.
Users should note that all quantities (including the separated CH4 and N2O emissions) are expressed in terms of CO2e - the quantity of CO2 which would exert the same atmospheric warming effect and the emissions quantity.
This methodology represents per passenger emissions and therefore the returned emissions should be considered - by default - to represent those attributable to single (or multiple, if specified) passengers.
Other DEFRA methodologies for air travel are available, including those based on known flight distances and Great Circle distance (calculated on the basis of airport IATA codes or latitude and longitude references).