Airbus to support Boeing’s lead role in Greener Skies follow-up initiative to maximise US air navigation efficiency
(photo: Alaska Airlines)
Thu 20 Oct 2011 – Following a $3.1 million task order award from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Boeing is to lead a team to evaluate and analyse how GPS-based precision navigation can be utilised to reduce fuel burn, lower emissions and decrease noise in the national airspace system. The Greener Skies initiative seeks to improve air traffic management (ATM) efficiency through the expanded use of Performance Based Navigation (PBN) including Required Navigation Performance (RNP), area navigation (RNAV) and Optimised Profile Descents (OPDs). It builds on the Greener Skies Over Seattle project started in 2009 involving Alaska Airlines, which showed how fuel burn and emissions could be cut by 35 per cent through the use of RNP compared to a conventional landing.
RNP technology enables aircraft to fly precise and predefined paths to closely spaced parallel runways, resulting in more efficient departure, en-route and approach profiles. The research, according to Boeing, will help create new procedures in flight deck and air traffic control ground-based systems that will lead to new reduced separation criteria and increased safety margins.
The procedures will be tested at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Seattle’s Boeing Field for future implementation at capacity-constrained airports across the United States.
“This research and development initiative supports Boeing’s strategic focus on maximising the capabilities of Boeing aircraft and implement RNP globally,” said Neil Planzer, Vice President, Air Traffic Management, Boeing Flight Services.
The other industry members of the consortium include Airbus, Adacel, Cessna and Honeywell. Airbus subsidiary Quovadis will provide PBN consultancy and implementation expertise for the initiative. Earlier this year, Airbus launched the Airbus ProSky subsidiary, which is dedicated to supporting the FAA’s NextGen, Europe’s SESAR and other global ATM modernisation programmes.