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Civil aviation is fast-growing (about +5% every year), mainly driven by the developing economies and globalisation. Its impact on the environment is heavily debated, particularly in relation to climate forcing attributed to emissions at cruising altitudes and the noise and the deterioration of air quality at ground-level due to airport operations. This latter environmental issue is of particular interest to the scientific community and policymakers, especially in relation to the breach of limit and target values for many air pollutants, mainly nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, near the busiest airports and the resulting consequences for public health. Despite the increased attention given to aircraft emissions at ground-level and air pollution in the vicinity of airports, many research gaps remain. Sources relevant to air quality include not only engine exhaust and non-exhaust emissions from aircraft, but also emissions from the units providing power to the aircraft on the ground, the traffic due to the airport ground service, maintenance work, heating facilities, fugitive vapours from refuelling operations, kitchens and restaurants for passengers and operators, intermodal transportation systems, and road traffic for transporting people and goods in and out to the airport. Many of these sources have received inadequate attention, despite their high potential for impact on air quality. This review aims to summarise the state-of-the-art research on aircraft and airport emissions and attempts to synthesise the results of studies that have addressed this issue. It also aims to describe the key characteristics of pollution, the impacts upon global and local air quality and to address the future potential of research by highlighting research needs.
Masiol, M., R. M. Harrison (2014) Aircraft engine exhaust emissions and other airport-related contributions to ambient air pollution: A review, Atmospheric Environment 95:409-455