Boeing-owned flight-planning company ForeFlight announced this week it has entered a collaboration with climate and clean-energy group Breakthrough Energy (BE) to develop and produce “advanced tools” to enable business aviation operators to avoid producing contrails. The overall goal is to reduce the harmful environmental effects of the artificially-generated clouds.

ForeFlight said, according to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), contrails are responsible for approximately 35% of aviation’s global warming footprint. ForeFlight and BE are working on software tools that can analyze weather forecasts, satellite imagery and other related data to model atmospheric conditions that induce contrails. The product will enable business aviation operators, such as Europe’s Luxaviation, to avoid the vulnerable air masses and lessen the environmental impact of the contrails.

ForeFlight Chief Technology Officer Henrik Hansen, said, “Dispatchers at Luxaviation and elsewhere using ForeFlight already have access to our most powerful flight planning tools to help pilots avoid turbulence, icing and storms. So, the seemingly next step is surfacing areas where contrails could be created. As the research continues to evolve, we’re excited to explore new and innovative ways to integrate the models and data produced by Breakthrough Energy.”

ForeFlight and BE estimate that slightly redirecting as few as 5% of flights could eliminate most contrail-related warming. While redirecting flights could increase fuel use, the data show that the net effect would be a significant reduction in warming. Matteo Mirolo, Head of Contrails Policy and Strategy at BE, said, “Working with ForeFlight is an important step to reaching more aviation operators around the world. We look forward to continuing to find ways to put this useful information in front of pilots and to meaningfully mitigate warming contrails.”

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