Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Spatial Differences and Costs of Emissions at U.S. Airport Hubs.

TitleSpatial Differences and Costs of Emissions at U.S. Airport Hubs.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsNahlik MJ, Chester MV, Ryerson MS, Fraser AM
JournalEnviron Sci Technol
Date Published04/2016
Type of Articlejournal
KeywordsAir Pollutants, Air Pollution, Aircraft, Airports, Aviation, Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Humans, Models, Theoretical, Nitrogen Oxides, Public Health, United States, Vehicle Emissions, Volatile Organic Compounds

As local governments plan to expand airport infrastructure and build air service, monetized estimates of damages from air pollution are important for balancing environmental impacts. While it is well-known that aircraft emissions near airports directly affect nearby populations, it is less clear how the airport-specific aircraft operations and impacts result in monetized damages to human health and the environment. We model aircraft and ground support equipment emissions at major U.S. airports and estimate the monetized human health and environmental damages of near airport (within 60 miles) emissions. County-specific unit damage costs for PM, SOx, NOx, and VOCs and damage valuations for CO and CO2 are used along with aircraft emissions estimations at airports to determine impacts. We find that near-airport emissions at major U.S. airports caused a total of $1.9 billion in damages in 2013, with airports contributing between $720 thousand and $190 million each. These damages vary by airport from $1 to $9 per seat per one-way flight and costs per passenger are often greater than airport charges levied on airlines for infrastructure use. As the U.S. aviation system grows, it is possible to minimize human and environmental costs by shifting aircraft technologies and expanding service into airports where fewer impacts are likely to occur.

Alternate JournalEnviron. Sci. Technol.
PubMed ID27007187