Increased human activities in the Arctic in the past decades have led to large increases in heat-trapping gases. New Trans-Arctic Aviation Routes surely reduce fuel burn for the aircrafts operating in trans-Arctic air corridors, provide shorter paths between many European, North American and Asian cities having a great impact on tourism and air travel markets' economy.
However, to understand and mitigate impact of air traffic on warming Arctic climate is one of the most urgent objectives for the Arctic States.
All forms of aviation used to cross the Arctic air space, emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, like oxides of nitrogen and water vapor, into the northern atmosphere. Emissions of an Arctic airship can vary significantly, according to the size of the aircraft, the number of passengers on board, the distance of journey and the altitude as it was proved that aircrafts flying on high altitudes produce more carbon dioxide than those operating on lower altitudes.
Adding to the flying aircrafts operations, greenhouse gas emissions from the on ground airport operations, such as the usage of energy by the airports buildings and the ways of accessing the airports facilities by passengers and staff, highly contribute to the climate change effect.
Impact of each aircraft´s emissions on the Arctic climate depends on the quantity, lifetime and discharged location of each trace gas. When the exact climate impact of carbon dioxide from commercial aircrafts was estimated to be around 600 million tones annually, the impact of water vapor and oxides of nitrogen are still unknown. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has come into the conclusion that aviation is greatly responsible for over 3,5 % of anthropogenic climate change.
Presently, there are optimization algorithms to be developed for transpolar flights to generate wind-optimal trajectories that minimize climate impact of airships in global warming potential as well as new technologies for alternative sources of fuels to be used in the aircrafts. At the end of 2011, eight worldwide companies were being awarded over 7 million dollars for advancing the development of aviation biofuels with a special attention to alcohol jet fuel. However there are many questions to be answered in between, how do the fuels affect engines durability and quality and safety control international standards.
Reducing air travels and Arctic air tourism opportunities seem to be another alternative way to reduce aviation impact on climate change and Arctic environment. If future travel demand could be managed with supplementary ways of transportation, increased taxation would not be needed to be implemented by the Arctic States.