'Green Skies of Brazil' programme rolled out in drive to improve airspace efficiency and reduce environmental impact
(graphic: GE Aviation)
Mon 16 Sept 2013 – Following a two-year research initiative, a multi-year airspace efficiency programme is to be rolled out in southeast Brazil that is expected to result in substantial savings in fuel and emissions. Dubbed ‘Green Skies of Brazil’, the programme will involve the deployment of Required Navigation Performance (RNP) operational procedures at 10 Brazilian airports. GOL is the first airline committed to the programme and all qualified operators will be able to participate. GE Aviation’s flight data analytics will be used to measure and quantify the opportunities and benefits for airlines. Air travel in Brazil is forecast to grow 6.5 per cent annually over the next 10 years and with commitments to hosting both the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016, there is a realisation that airspace efficiency in the country must be improved as quickly as possible.
RNP procedures, an advanced form of Performance-based Navigation (PBN) technology that allows aircraft to fly precisely-defined flight paths, can be designed to shorten the distance an aircraft has to fly en-route, and to reduce fuel burn, exhaust emissions and noise pollution in communities near airports.
Brazil’s first RNP flight procedures were approved for operational use in May 2012, following a validation flight by GOL at Rio de Janeiro’s Santos Dumont airport, a challenging flight environment because of the mountainous areas and complex airspace faced by operators when arriving and departing. DECEA, Brazil’s air navigation service provider, designed the RNP procedures, with technical support from GE and validated and approved by aviation regulator ANAC. This included a continuous descent arrival (CDA) procedure at Santos Dumont in order to mitigate noise for the 100,000 residents around the airport, as well as reduce track miles and improve capacity.
GE Aviation’s Flight Analytics platform used detailed airspace, airport and airline operational models to evaluate the efficiency of historical flight operations, identify areas for improvement and quantify the potential efficiency gains. DECEA will now be deploying the public-use RNP procedures and multiple city pair procedures at Guarulhos, Congonhas, Viracopos, Galeão, Curitiba, Brasilia, Confins, Vitoria and Pampulha airports.
GE estimates that at Brasilia International airport alone, GOL could potentially save an average of 22 track miles, 7.5 minutes, 77 gallons of fuel and 1628 pounds (738kgs) of CO2 per approach compared to conventional paths, totalling more than $24 million in operational savings over five years.
GOL will provide the airline perspective to the ‘Green Skies of Brazil’ programme once the RNP paths have been deployed, sharing flight and operations data with GE for analysis, supporting calculations of cost savings through its continuous improvement programme and identifying airspace bottlenecks.
More than 10 Brazilian civil aviation stakeholders are participating in the programme, including SAC, ANAC, INFRAERO, ABEAR, ABAG, Petrobrás Cenpes and Azul.