Pen and paper…

Thoughts, ideas, questions, experiences

Birmingham Airport flight emissions – calculations for #ashtag May 11, 2010

Filed under: Birmingham Recycled — Kellie Maddox @ 1:05 pm
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Finally got some figures to work with in my quest to map the emissions saved by flights being grounded at Birmingham Airport during the ash cloud (first-time round).

Again, Justine Hunt at the airport’s been really helpful and I’m going to visit the environment team on Friday…so hopefully more interesting stuff on the way for BRInvestigates…

Anyway…the rough figures so far (this whole project is very much a close ‘approximation’)…

  • The average number of flights in and out of Birmingham = 300 daily (over the six days, this is approx. 1800 flights cancelled)
  • Approximately 203 departures per day (sample from today, Wed 12th May)
  • Disregarding the type of aircraft, short and long-haul flights can be calculated using – which calculates the carbon emissions of each flight based on an assumption of a 65% load factor with 139 seats

As Justine pointed out, the only way to work out an average day’s flight emissions would be to take a sample from the departures board on the website (which would show short, long-haul and domestic flights) and calculate the approximate carbon output for each flight. I’ve started an Excel spreadsheet to organise and calculate this data and will attach it once completed.

Once I’ve finished the laborious task of using the calculator to estimate the total emissions from the day’s sample departures, this can then be multiplied by the six days (in which flights were grounded) to give an approximate idea of the total carbon emissions saved by flights being grounded at Birmingham Airport during the ‘first’ ash cloud incident.

 Then finally……….I will attempt to map the data. Getting there slowly….


Mapping: giving it another go…. May 6, 2010

Filed under: Birmingham Recycled,Online journalism — Kellie Maddox @ 2:13 pm
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You may re-call my rather delayed attempts at mapping the emissions saved by flights being grounded at Birmingham Airport during the recent ‘ash cloud’. In my earlier post, I said:

As for UK figures, specifically Birmingham Airport – I’ve contacted the airport who said roughly 1600 flights were grounded over the 6 day period. I asked how this impacted aviation emissions figures but was told it’s something they’d have to look into with their environment department…….so its looking like Monday at the earliest!

The lady at Birmingham Airport did get back to me but only to say that they don’t keep such information because they’re not required to track emissions by law; although its something they will be introducing in the next 12 months. She said it would be quite difficult to work out because of variants like plane model type, length of flight, weight carried etc. So I pretty much laid the idea to rest….

Until yesterday’s session on data journalism with James Ball that is. I told James about the idea and he seemed to think it was worth pursuing. He said I would be able to work out a rough average based on the number of flights that would normally have flown out, the number of those that would have been short/long-haul and the approximate emissions of a ‘standard aircraft’.

So, I’ve gone back to Birmingham Airport and asked for exactly those figures….fingers crossed they a) get back to me and b) get back to me with some lovely numbers to crunch. I also asked about the number of flights affected by this week’s restrictions in Scotland and Ireland – so another mapping opportunity could be on the horizon there….

On a side note, I managed to find an Environmental Change Institute document which discusses the different methods used to calculate the carbon emissions of flights and compares them….so I guess this may come in handy when/if I do get some data to work with.