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Planes will spend 2,000 hours more in air because of climate change - says Reading expert

Credit: PA

A new study by the University of Reading has found that planes flying between Europe and North America will spend more time in the air due to the effects of climate change.

An accelerating jet stream - the high-altitude wind blowing from west to east across the Atlantic - means eastbound flights will travel faster but slow down westbound flights.

It's thought the findings of the study could have major implications for airlines, passengers, and airports.

The study, led by Dr Paul Williams, an atmospheric scientist , calculates that transatlantic aircraft will spend an extra 2,000 hours in the air every year, adding millions of dollars to airline fuel costs and increasing the risk of delays.

The bad news for passengers is that westbound flights will be battling against stronger headwinds. The good news is that eastbound flights will be boosted by stronger tailwinds, but not enough to compensate for the longer westbound journeys. The net result is that roundtrip journeys will significantly lengthen.

– Dr Paul Williams, University of Reading