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When airlines fill up, it’s not always easy to work out the cost. Patrick Lauke/Flickr

Explainer: fuel hedging and its impact on airlines and airfares

With oil prices on the decline, and analysts predicting record profits for the 2014/15 financial year, Qantas and Virgin Australia are under increasing pressure to abolish fuel surcharges and lower their…
Aviation emissions are growing at a time when other industries are reducing theirs. James Loesch/Flickr

It’s time for a global tax on aviation emissions

Aviation has an emissions problem. As an industry, both in the scope of its operations and the nature of its emissions, aviation has a significant effect on the environment. Despite this, aviation emissions…
Could climate change be making flying more unsafe? KamrenB Photography

Could climate change have played a role in the AirAsia crash?

On December 28, AirAsia flight QZ8501 crashed into the sea between Indonesia and Singapore. Shortly before the crash, the pilots requested an alteration to the flight route due to severe weather. While…
Pilots have the privilege of a birds-eye view, but should they resist the temptation to snap from the cockpit? Frans Zwart/Flickr

When ‘selfies’ extend to plane cockpits, pilots could land themselves in trouble

Last week, Quartz published an article showcasing photographs pilots have taken from the cockpit of aircraft to post on Instagram. As explained in the story, by taking these photos – many of which appear…
China’s first homegrown commercial jet, the C919 is soon to be a reality. EPA/Ym Yik

China sets its sights on breaking the Boeing-Airbus duopoly

The global civil aerospace market has long been a classic duopoly. The sector has been dominated by European company Airbus and the US giant Boeing, with only limited competition in the regional jet market…
There’s a lot of technical re-invention in store for the airliner. Boeing & NASA

What commercial aircraft will look like in 2050

The aircraft industry is expecting a seven-fold increase in air traffic by 2050, and a four-fold increase in greenhouse gas emissions unless fundamental changes are made. But just how “fundamental” will…
It should be possible to enjoy your holiday and give the planet a break. lazyllama/Shutterstock

Can you be a sustainable tourist without giving up flying?

Australians love to travel. About 9 million Australians travelled overseas last year, 60% of them on holiday. For most tourists, sustainable development and climate change were probably not high on their…
Questions are being asked of the Qantas board over fleet decisions made years ago. Halans/Flickr

Did Qantas bet the house on the wrong planes?

When Qantas posted a A$2.8 billion loss - the highest in the airline’s history - last week, one critical point was that $2.6 billion came from a write-down of the value of the aircraft in the Qantas international…
Planes and airports both have big carbon footprints – and the sector is still growing. ssguy/Shutterstock

Airline emissions are set to rise – and people are threatening to sue

No matter what the aviation industry does to reduce emissions, it will be outweighed by growth in air travel, according to a new analysis. Growth will trump emissions cuts even if significant (and contentious…
A coffin bearing the remains of a victim from flight MH17 arrives in the Netherlands. In determining compensation, the onus is on the airline to prove it wasn’t at fault or negligent. EPA/Bas Czerwinski

The loss of flight MH17: how much compensation – and who pays?

On July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight 17 (MH17) – an international passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur – crashed in eastern Ukraine. All 298 passengers and crew were killed. It appears…
A separatist soldier hands an MH17 black box to a Malaysian delegation. EPA/Robert Ghement

Explainer: what will MH17’s black boxes reveal?

The news that the black boxes from Malaysia Airlines flight M17 has been handed over to Malaysian authorities, will lead to many questions about what information they have to offer. The two recorders have…
Like Icarus, passengers on aircraft during solar flares can cop the effects of flying close to the sun. HK.Colin/Flickr

Are you a frequent flyer? Solar storm radiation can be harmful

Space weather impacts many modern-day technologies. But one of the most concerning – and least reported – space weather effects is the increased radiation exposure to passengers on commercial long-distance…
With clear international agreements families of passengers lost to air disasters could be granted some certainty. Azhar Rahim/EPA/AAP

MH370 cost sharing agreement a chance to avoid future mistakes

More than 100 days on from the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, the search for the plane continues at a mounting cost for all involved, including the Australian government. Last month senior…
Malaysia Airlines is still in business, but is rethinking its business model. ailing_/Flickr

A season on from MH370, how is Malaysia Airlines doing?

Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappeared on March 8, 2014, almost three months ago. Despite comprehensive, almost unprecedented search operations involving dozens of states, the aircraft, or what remains…

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