Cathay Pacific and Airservices collaborate on Pacific green demonstration flights as part of ASPIRE programme
A Cathay Pacific Airbus A330 lands at Melbourne Airport (photo: Airservices)
Fri 22 Nov 2013 – Cathay Pacific yesterday conducted four flights from Hong Kong to destinations in Australia and the United States under the Asia and Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions (ASPIRE) programme. Two demonstration flights were operated to Anchorage and San Francisco, along with flights to Melbourne and Sydney. Undertaken in collaboration with Airservices Australia, it was the first time two ASPIRE flights had been conducted at the one time in Australia. Set up in 2008, ASPIRE is a joint venture focused on lessening the environmental impact across Asia and the Pacific through the promotion of best practice in improved air traffic management. In September, Emirates conducted a flight from Dubai to Brisbane in cooperation with Airservices under a related Indian Ocean programme.
“We are excited to partner with IATA and aviation authorities across the Pacific to conduct the first multi-destination demonstration green flights under the ASPIRE programme,” said Cathay Pacific COO Ivan Chu ahead of the flights. “The flights will employ a series of gate-to-gate efficiency measures while operating within the existing constraints of the air traffic control systems to highlight the potential for real reductions in fuel burn and CO2 emissions on a daily basis.”
Airservices’ Executive General Manager Air Traffic Control, Gregg Hood, said the measures would become a new standard for air traffic services. “ASPIRE demonstrates that when several efficient air traffic procedures are integrated and applied to flights, we see the potential for reductions in delays, fuel usage and emissions,” he commented.
The Emirates flight used a company preferred route across the Indian Ocean and through Australian domestic airspace. Results based on 100 similar flights conducted under the Indian Ocean Strategic Partnership to Reduce Emissions (INSPIRE) programme indicate a fuel saving of 740kg and 2.3 tonnes of CO2 per flight.
On arrival in Brisbane, the Emirates aircraft conducted a Continuous Descent Approach using Smart Tracking technology recently introduced by Airservices. Smart Tracking enables suitably equipped aircraft to glide to the runway under minimal power avoiding long, straight-in approaches.
“We’ve invested in one of the best flight planning systems available,” said Captain Alan Stealey, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Flight Operations. “Working together with Airservices, we use flexible air traffic routes optimised for weather, saving time, fuel and emissions.”
The air traffic procedures were then demonstrated on the ongoing flight from Brisbane to Auckland as part of the ASPIRE programme. Emirates is the most recent member of ASPIRE.
Stealey said the operational flying technique was one of a number of innovations the airline was currently exploring in the quest to reduce carbon emissions. Other Emirates measures taken on as standard include using a single engine to taxi where possible, which he estimated would potentially save 430,000 litres of fuel annually for every minute of single engine taxiing per aircraft movement. By using fixed power supplies while an aircraft is parked instead of the APU, the amount of fuel burn can be reduced by up to 85%, he said.
Meanwhile, in conjunction with the Australian Airports Association, Airservices earlier this month launched a new aircraft noise website for the public, which provides information on aircraft noise and its impacts.
“In Australia, aviation activity is expected to increase by more than 60% over the next 20 years. This website provides information on aircraft noise, how the industry is working together to manage it and what people can do to reduce its impact,” said Airservices’ Executive General Manager Environment, Dr Rob Weaver.
The website launch coincided with the publication of an aircraft noise management document by Airservices. “We are committed to minimising, and where possible, reducing the impact of aircraft noise,” said Dr Weaver. “This document sets out our principles for managing aircraft noise today and in the future and will help communities understand the reasoning for decisions made concerning aircraft noise.
“The aviation industry continues to work towards reducing the impacts of aircraft noise, and this document will underpin our ongoing collaboration with the aviation industry to achieve world’s best practice in aircraft noise management.”