Interesting question. I have seen multiple figures and claims that both driving and flying are better for the environment and I am not sure which I believe. On one hand, I am inclined to believe that flying (in a full plane) is better than each individual passenger driving separately. Assuming that people who take short flights do not rent a car (otherwise they might be more inclined to save money and take their own) it might actually be good to take short flights. It would reduce their driving and prevent the passengers from driving sepratey.
This is a good question, but one that is difficult to answer. Short flights are very important to a lot of people. Some business people will chose to fly instead of driving their car. If the flight is full, this may be more efficient that each of those people driving alone in their car.
Many of the planes that make the short flights are new, small planes. They are pretty efficient and usually quite full.
One option may be to have less flights per day that are short to guarantee that each flight will be full, thus making it as efficient as possible.
Depends on what you define as short. Some people have emergencies and can’t drive to a location. I can’t imagine myself on a flight less than an hour but it depends on the circumstance. I would worry more about long flights. I can imagine pilots getting tired after more than 8 hours in the air.
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