The toxic emissions of aircraft cause respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Until recently, it was thought that the emissions of airplanes polluted strictly the areas around the take-off and landing runways. However, a study conducted in 2009 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an institute that specialises in climate research, revealed two aspects: first, the polluted area around airports is a lot larger (spreading over a radius of 15-20 km) and, second, high altitude emissions destroy the ozone layer and amplify the greenhouse effect.

Moreover, these emissions travel together with the masses of air and, as a result, planes that fly above Europe are sometimes in fact polluting India and China. In total, the around 30 000 passenger jets that are in service at the moment generate 600 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. A plane at take-off produces an amount of toxic emissions equal to that of a car travelling over a distance of 40 000 km.

What are the measures that the Commission is considering in order to reduce the toxic emissions of planes transiting Europe?