Measuring environmental impact – Positive results from the latest reporting tools for ATM performance

Measuring environmental impact – Positive results from the latest reporting tools for ATM performance

Mon 30 Sept 2013 – During the current 38th ICAO Assembly, 191 member countries are expected to approve the 4th Edition of the Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP), a 15-year rolling methodology that provides the global strategic direction to the aviation industry in five-year increments. It offers guidance on operational targets and the supporting technologies, avionics, procedures, standards and regulatory approvals needed to realise the plan. The GANP establishes a framework for incremental regional implementations based on the specific operational needs and traffic requirements of each State. This is accomplished through Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBUs), a consensus-driven framework which forms the baseline of the revised GANP. Once operational analyses and resulting implementations have been completed, reports Bernard Gonsalves (above) of CANSO, the next step calls for air navigation performance monitoring through an established measurement and reporting strategy.


From the air navigation service provider (ANSP) perspective, a needs and dependency analysis is required to assess the selection of any given ASBU module, while ensuring there is a sound business case for each. Equally important is the ability to measure the success once implemented. Several members of the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), which represents ANSPs worldwide, possess sophisticated measurement and reporting tools. For those that do not, ICAO, working closely with CANSO and other stakeholders, has developed a tool to estimate environmental benefits accrued from a range of operational improvements.


The ICAO Fuel Savings Estimation Tool (IFSET) was promulgated by the UN organisation in January 2012 and promoted with ICAO Member States and ANSPs through a series of workshops during 2012. It was developed not to replace current fuel savings measurement or modelling tools, but rather to assist those States and their ANSPs without such capability to estimate the benefits from operational improvements in a consistent manner.


Operational improvements from global air navigation planning priorities such as Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) en route, arrival and departure procedures; basic Continuous Descent Operations (CDO); and Continuous Climb Operations (CCO) can be measured using IFSET. IFSET uses a set of aggregated individual aircraft type performance data and is broken down into different phases of flight to permit calculations of the fuel burn characteristics for a given flight profile. IFSET also generates two different flight trajectory performances in terms of fuel consumption – ‘before’ and ‘after’ the introduction of a given operational improvement.


Using IFSET, ANSPs can quickly collate results on a local, state or regional level which can then be easily transmitted via email to the centralised ICAO data collection service. The tool is designed to assist States and ANSPs in estimating and reporting fuel savings in a manner consistent with the models approved by ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP).


The environmental challenges the aviation industry faces cannot be addressed by the aircraft operators, the ANSPs, the airports or the aircraft manufacturers working individually. A collaborative approach is needed. In 2012, CANSO, Airports Council International, IATA, the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations (ICCAIA) and other industry partners made a strong commitment to reduce aviation’s impact on climate change at the Aviation and Environment Summit in Geneva. They committed to carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and to reduce net emissions 50% by 2050 compared to 2005.


To achieve these goals, ANSPs must work closely with airspace users to understand the areas that require special attention and improve air navigation performance worldwide. They must also share successful implementation efforts and associated best practices. Since 2011, CANSO has worked alongside ICAO to develop IFSET and promote its use globally. Dedicated regional training workshops have been held to promote the understanding and use of IFSET.


CANSO will continue to work closely with ICAO to develop and publish the Global Air Navigation Report. The first edition of this report, slated for March 2014, provides an opportunity for the ANSP community to report on progress across the different ICAO regions. Besides collating the success of implementing the suite of capabilities that are currently available, known as Block 0, this report will also facilitate more effective interregional harmonisation and planning. In this follow-up phase, the CANSO Environmental Workgroup, led by HungaroControl’s Gabor Nemes and Boeing’s Doug Stoll, continues to work closely with ANSP members to improve and promote a robust reporting process. The report provides the ANSP community with an opportunity to showcase and quantify the many emissions reduction initiatives already underway.


Meanwhile, several CANSO ANSP members have been proactively working towards achieving these ambitious industry goals, with projects in New Zealand, Europe and North America able to report consistent environmental benefits.


Recognising the impact of holding delays on its customers both in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and their commercial impact on flight times, Airways New Zealand introduced a Collaborative Flow Manager (CFM) tool in 2008. Airlines collaborating with Airways NZ were able to better manage departure times to ensure minimum holding delays on arrival. This resulted in the avoidance of 24,000 minutes of delay per month to their customers while also saving 2,500 tonnes of carbon emissions. In April 2013, the CFM system was augmented by an Arrival Manager (AMAN) that improved sequencing and offered airlines optimum gate-to-gate flight profiles with continuous descent operations down to the runway.


Airways Chief Operating Officer Pauline Lamb said: “Our airline partnership has all but eliminated arrival delay in New Zealand. Through this we have reduced the flight distance between two of New Zealand’s major airports by 12 miles on average. As a result, our airline customers have saved 38,000 tonnes of fuel and 121,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide since 2009.”


Maurice Georges, CEO of DSNA, France, reported impressive results with a Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) initiative, working closely with main partners Air France and Aéroports de Paris (ADP). Since its implementation in November 2010, airport capacity at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport has increased 5% during peak hours. It has also seen a 9% improvement in punctuality and during 2012 saved an average of 39 tonnes daily in carbon emissions from taxi reductions alone.


Eurocontrol, reporting on behalf of several ANSPs in Europe, is well ahead in the implementation of the ASBU Block 1 methodology called Free Route Operation. The initiative, also known as Free Route Airspace, promotes the advantage to operators to ‘flight plan as you would want to fly’ seamlessly across multiple ANSP control systems. Razvan Bucuroiu, Eurocontrol Head of Operations Planning, is aiming for 15 area control centres to be offering the Free Route capability by 2015.


NAV CANADA, in its commitment to implement Performance-Based Navigation flight procedures, introduced these concepts in one of the largest airspace redesigns in Canada since the 1980s. Following the successful implementation of the first phase Windsor-Toronto-Montréal (WTM) redesign in February 2012 and showcasing the success of working with its customers, Executive Vice President Rudy Kellar announced a reduction of 129,000 tonnes of carbon emissions through 2020.


In supporting ICAO Block Module Free Route Operations and Optimum Flight Levels, NAV CANADA has successfully pursued its ADS-B surveillance strategy in close consultation with its customers to provide radar-like coverage across more than four million square kilometres. The latest expansion of ADS-B across the northern oceanic boundaries of the North Atlantic is forecast to deliver CO2 reductions in the order of 225,000 tonnes through 2020. In its commitment towards long-term sustainable growth, NAV CANADA is projecting a total reduction in emissions of 21 million tonnes between 1997 and 2020.


Ian Jopson, Head of Environment and Community Affairs at NATS in the UK said that more efficient air traffic control procedures and the better use of airspace have saved 800,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions since 2008. The last five years of the NATS environmental programme have delivered 125 changes in their airspace, many of them related to ASBU Block 0 concepts, unlocking more direct routes and other savings that equate to cutting £160 million ($260m) from airline fuel bills. The introduction of iFACTS alone – NATS’ next generation air traffic control tool – is estimated to be saving 10,000 tonnes of fuel, worth £6 million ($10m) a year. iFACTS gives controllers a view of the future track and trajectory of the aircraft under their control so they can optimise routes for fuel and emissions savings.


The outcomes reflected in the first ICAO Global Air Navigation Report will help to identify annual tactical adjustment priorities for regional work programmes, as well as informing about longer-term policy adjustments.



Bernard Gonsalves is Assistant Director Technical Affairs at CANSO. The activities of the CANSO Environmental Workgroup (ENV WG) fall under the Operations Standing Committee (OSC). Anthony Tisdall serves as the OSC Programme Manager. ENV WG has two Co-Chairs, Doug Stoll and Gabor Nemes. For more details on CANSO’s work with ICAO click here. For information on ICAO’s environmental toolkits, including IFSET, click here.


This article was first published in CANSO’s Airspace, Issue 22, 2013.



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