New MSP 2016 Forum Follow-Up

With the help of Rep. Nolan's office and support from other Senators and Representatives in Washington, President Spensley has contacted key staff at FAA, NTSB, and elsewhere dealing with how to reduce green Hiuse Gases (GHG) emitted from commercial air operations in the U.S. 

The government is working with other nations through the ICAO in the hope of establishing "fuel economy" or more miles per gallon standards for jet aircraft. GHG emissions per flight are proportional to the pounds of fuel used and the inefficiency of the jet engines. Jets convert fuel (energy) into thrust. But the engines are designed, of course, to be most fuel efficient at cruise speeds and altitudes.

We identified several problems in this approach:

Most important, if the projected miles flown are close to accurate,  fuel and emissions will be far more than the best estimates of attainable miles per gallon.

Significantly, the ICAO predicts it will be ten long years at best to set miles per gallon standards.

More miles are flown in the U.S. than  are necessary to deliver air passengers and cargo to final destinations, a consequence of the hub-and-spoke organization of US routes and airports.

More airport operations were required in 2015 to deliver fewer passengers to their final destinations than in 2005, also  a consequence of the hub-and-spoke organization of US routes and airports. the major 2005 to 2015 difference is there are fewer hub airports.  Congestion at current hubs results in more hours at inefficient altitudes and speeds, including flying around or past airports, using fuel and emitting carbon for a net-zero distance or negative fuel efficiency (MPG).

An estimated 200 miles is added to the average city-hub-city trip because hubs are now a) less likely to be 'between' origin and destination, and b) interline connections are risky, limited, and expensive.

The solution? The Federal government stops supporting arrivals per hour beyond a safe and affordable rate at every airport and limits the financing of increased hourly capacity if more beneficial facilities are available from city to city.



A PDF file SMAAC Forum MSP 2016 Report can be found at

The letter to FAA Administrator Huerta can be found at

We see that FAA development and deployment of Next Gen Airport systems  and industry agreement on flight automation using GPS-autopilot routes is, to say the least, not going well. Each hub airport has limitations that increase safety risks and increase facilities and management costs more so. The air traffic control systems are strained, and the current relief is spreading out routes both vertically and horizontally, increasing GHG and carbon emissions as well as safety risks and neighborhood impacts

Note: Air travel from MSP and other hubs has become economically disadvantageous. Local (origin and destination) passengers pay high fees and fares to support peak-hour capacity. Even so, no attention is being given to the public health costs and environmental issues likely to result from the route and profile changes as more airport operations are attempted per hour rather than scheduled throughout the day. 

Citizens, legislators, and city councils need to consider the ramifications of the above and demand that the MSP LTCP addresses the issues.  It is a travesty that hub expansion is proceeding (that is, more surge capacity --gates, terminals, hotel, etc. catering to the connecting passenger and hub airlines). That is another topic, but related and pertient.     

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