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July 14, 2016

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The Royal Institute of Technology released a study that found low-cost airlines may be more environmentally friendly than legacy airlines.

The reason is simple: The more people there are on a flight, the fewer resources are used to transport each of them.

The study compared aircraft models, passenger figures, carbon dioxide emissions data, EU fuel consumption data, and airline models and the number of seats.

“The low-cost companies pack their planes with the most travelers,” researcher Andreas Schennings said in a statement. “You then get less CO2 emissions.”

The study also notes that taking a direct flight is better for the environment than one with a layover. As just one example, stopping in Copenhagen on the way to Munich from Stockholm increases CO2 emissions by 35 percent per person.

But scoring a cheap flight doesn't necessarily mean you're doing something for the environment.

“Many airlines take detours and are still cheaper,” said Schennings. “But the environmental damage is much greater. Take the train instead if you want to spare the environment.” 

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