Airbus and Air Canada to carry out North America’s first ‘perfect flight’ as part of Rio+20 biofuel initiative
Mon 18 June 2012 – As part of the series of biofuel flights making their way from Montreal to Rio de Janeiro for the Rio+20 UN sustainable development summit, the second leg between Toronto and Mexico City today will be North America’s first ‘perfect flight’. The Air Canada scheduled commercial flight (AC991) of an Airbus A319 aircraft is expected to potentially reduce CO2 emissions by 40 per cent compared to normal operations. The Airbus/Air Canada collaboration will see the use of sustainable biofuel derived from SkyNRG’s used cooking oil. In agreement with air traffic management authorities across three countries – Canada, the United States and Mexico – procedures involving optimised routings will ensure the aircraft flies the most direct and efficient route. Other eco-efficient operational procedures are also being implemented in order to underpin the aviation industry’s four-pillar strategy, says Airbus.
The Air Canada flight is the second leg of four biofuel flights taking ICAO Secretary General Raymond Benjamin from Montreal, the home of ICAO, to Rio de Janeiro. The first flight leaves Montreal today at 11.30 local time and last arrives tomorrow (June 19) at 14.00 (see article).
The biofuel to be used on the Toronto-Mexico City flight is a 50/50 blend of conventional jet kerosene and sustainable used cooking oil supplied by Amsterdam-based SkyNRG. The Dutch company has also supplied biofuel for the third leg between Mexico City and São Paulo operated by Aeroméxico.
Airbus says today’s ‘perfect flight’ by Air Canada involves the most eco-efficient aircraft family in its market segment and combines best operational and environmental practices available today. As well as flying the most direct route, the aircraft will apply a Continuous Descent Approach into Mexico City to save fuel and emissions as well as limit noise. Other eco-efficient procedures being employed include single-engine taxiing, external aircraft cleaning for improved aerodynamics, the use of lightweight cabin equipment and a ‘neatly tailored’ flight plan.
“Air Canada fully accepts its responsibility to reduce its footprint and our first flight using biofuel tangibly demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the environment,” said the airline’s Executive VP and COO, Duncan Dee. “Since 1990, our airline has become 30% more fuel efficient and we are determined to increase these gains through cutting-edge measures such as those being showcased with this flight, our greenest ever.”
In pursuit of the ‘perfect flight’, Airbus says its scale-up can start shrinking the environmental footprint of an aircraft’s flight to a minimum and states more than 90% of its research and technology investment is being spent for the benefit of the environment.
“Today’s flight with Air Canada proves that the aviation industry is in a strong position to reduce emissions and fly many more ‘perfect flights’,” said Fabrice Brégier, who earlier this month took over the role of Airbus President and CEO from Tom Enders. “To make this a day-to-day commercial reality, it requires now a political will to foster incentives to scale up the use of sustainable biofuels and accelerate modernisation of the Air Traffic Management system. We need a clear endorsement by governments and all aviation stakeholders to venture beyond today’s limitations.”