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Scientists dread the return of supersonic jets

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Scientists dread the return of supersonic jets

Press Release

Supersonic jets could be returning to the US and Europe and if that happens, there is a strong possibility that our ambitions of faster than sound travel could severely impact the atmosphere.

According to a new study there could be a sonic boom every five minutes in parts of North America and Western Europe if supersonic jets become commercialized again. The study has been published by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).

According to authors of the paper, supersonic jets could create severe environmental and health impacts by 2035. Though supersonic jets reduce travel time to a great extent, a major side effect of traveling this quickly is sonic booms — the noise emitted when an object traveling through the air breaks the speed of sound barrier.

According to the ICCT, some start-ups are hoping to roll out as many as 2,000 commercial aircraft that will serve 500 cities by 2035. Such a scenario, the ICCT said, would introduce 5,000 flights per day to 160 airports worldwide.

The most heavily impacted countries would include Germany, Israel, and parts of the U.S. and Canada. Those regions would be exposed to between 150 and 250 sonic booms per day, or up to one boom every five minutes over a 16-hour flight day, according to the report.

Study also indicates that some of the busiest airports including the Dubai International and London Heathrow airports could see in excess of 300 supersonic flight operations per day and that effectively means that these flights could double the area around airports exposed to substantial noise pollution.

A U.S.-led revival of supersonic jets was reportedly facing delays as European states, including the U.K., France and Germany, held firm on refusing to pass new rules on noise needed for the aircraft to fly.

Despite uncertainty over regulation, the industry is moving closer to making commercial supersonic air travel a reality again.