As the aviation industry seeks to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases, improvements in aircraft design and air traffic control can go only so far, experts say. Lower carbon dioxide levels will greatly depend on new engine technologies, and leading companies such as Rolls-Royce, General Electric and Pratt & Whitney are seeking to overhaul the turbofan design. New approaches such as geared turbofans and open rotors could dramatically reduce fuel consumption, although safety, maintenance and cost issues continue to be a concern.

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